We now get our first overlap between referendum and initiative petitioning. With the Attorney General’s (not the Surgeon General’s?) legally required explanation in hand, New Approach South Dakota is ready to start circulating its petition to put medical cannabis on the November 2016 ballot. Cannabis champion Melissa Mentele sends this invitation to a petition kick-off at the Sioux Falls downtown library on Thursday, June 18, at 6 p.m.:
Please join us in kicking off the SD’s Medical Cannabis petition drive. We will be enjoying refreshments, fellowship and signing the first of the petitions to be passed in South Dakota to put compassion on the 2016 Ballot. Please invite your friends and family to join us in this history making event. Children are welcome! Donations are welcome! Cookies, cake and punch will be provided along with handouts and door prizes [New Approach South Dakota, Facebook invitation, 2015.06.10].
For the moment, I’ve got my own referendum petitions to circulate, but once we submit our papers to refer the youth minimum wage and the Incumbent Protection Plan to a public vote, I’ll keep an eye out for initiative petitions to sign. I haven’t gotten my medical degree yet so I can weigh the merits of medical cannabis, but I support Mentele’s efforts and others’ to place matters of important public policy to a public vote.
And I always support cookies, cake, and punch.
Update 06:15 CDT: I also support and applaud knowing how to get good press. KSFY runs a story from an anonymous mom who says medical marijuana has saved her son’s life:
“My son was in a drunk-driving accident which resulted in severe head trauma and approximately two years after his accident, he started having severe seizures,” she said.
“I was jerking all over, my whole body was swinging, my arms and I was kicking my legs uncontrollably…that’s why I’m using this medical marijuana, not to abuse it, but to help myself medically,” her son, a medical marijuana user said.
His mom says medical marijuana was a last resort after other prescriptions failed.
“Since all of the other avenues, nothing was improving it; I felt we didn’t have anything to lose at this point,” his mom said.
…”My son has been seizure free for 21 months. So he has not needed to go to the ICU, he’s not having camera’s attached to his head at $19,000 a day, he’s not taking an ambulance ride which costs anywhere from $8,000 to $9,000 every time he has a seizure. So to me he’s saving the tax payers of South Dakota money as well as saving his own life by using the medical marijuana,” she said [Bridget Bennett, “South Dakota Mom Credits Illegal Marijuana Use for Son’s Health,” KSFY-TV, 2015.06.10].
Stories like that give medical cannabis will win medical cannabis the most votes. “Moms for Pot” would also fit really well on t-shirts.
Update 2015.06.12 14:25 CDT: New Approach South Dakota is hosting a West River petition kickoff event at the downtown Rapid City public library, 610 Quincy Street, on Tuesday, June 23, at 4 p.m.