Put the Bud in Rosebud: Tribal President Candidate Semans Says Follow Flandreau on Marijuana

Speaking of O.J., I learn from perusing Rosebud Sioux Tribe Channel 93 that candidate for Rosebud Sioux Council President O.J. Semans includes marijuana in his economic development plan:

I am currently working with tribes on establishing marijuana facilities, and I believe we as a tribe should also pursue this. Because we waited eight years in building our casino, we lost millions of dollars. Right now, marijuana is where casinos were twenty years ago. We have two options: we can do what Flandreau did, or we can do what Colorado did, and that is to have the tribe issue licenses to new businesses and collect the revenue from the licenses and the taxes on the sales [O.J. Semans, video, Rosebud Sioux Tribe Channel 93, YouTube, 2015.06.29].

Under its tribal ownership plan, the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe expects to make $2 million in profits from marijuana sales each month… assuming their consultant Monarch America doesn’t go belly up first. Semans is proposing a more free market alternative alongside the Flandreau socialist model.

Semans stands with eight other candidates for tribal president in this week’s primary election on Thursday; the winners (I’m guessing the top two, but the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Constitution Article III does not clarify) face off in the tribal general election on August 27.

30 Responses to Put the Bud in Rosebud: Tribal President Candidate Semans Says Follow Flandreau on Marijuana

  1. Bob Newland

    South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says potatoes may have a negative effect on the public.

    “Things that the public will look at are the public safety and health issues as well as what has been going on in some of those other states including Colorado as well as Washington, Oregon and other states where potatoes are legal,” Jackley says.


  2. Porter Lansing

    It’s happening. Take that, PAT POWERS – CAMPUS COP or is it PAUL BLART – MALL COP? I can just picture that teablogger hassling students for fun when he was in college. lol Decriminalize at the polls is the ticket to the process. PS, Pat Blart….Flandreau is pretty close to your real estate job, huh?

  3. Porter Lansing

    PS: @PaulPowersCampusCop …. In CO, sir 17% of the voters smoke marijuana yet 64% voted to legalize it. As a conservative, your focus is almost always on yourself so this may be hard to process. Why did so many non-smokers vote to legalize it? Wrap the noodle around this Mr. Blart. It was because the 64% know someone (probably a friend) who smokes pot and they don’t want to see their friends hassled by the law. What? People actually thinking about the well-being of someone else? Blasphemy, huh?

  4. Deb Geelsdottir

    I think OJ is on the right track and I appreciate his comparison with the casinos. Roger, anyone, do you know anything about this gentleman?

  5. Bill Dithmer

    $2,000,000 seems like a pretty rosie projection to me. It looks like from how the casinos are doing right now maybe $500,000 would get you closer to reality after they pay all their bills. Thats still $6,000,000 a year they didnt have before.

    It would take
    100,000 spending $20
    50,000 spending $40
    20,000 spending $100

    What might have been possible when the other states legalized pot is only a dream for those who waited. Still $6,000,000 and the jobs that go with it are good for the rez.

    While there is a pile of money to be made, if this were to happen right now, two years from now it might just be another place to buy pot. Remember that the stroke of a pen is all the president needs to change the schedule classification for marijuana.

    Now add the impending legalization in both Nebraska, within two years and ND not long after and you can see the problems.

    It seems like whatever the tribes or the state of SD do, they are a day late and a dollar short. Of course if pot was legal across the board, everything would level out. Those states that are already legal would loose some business to the nubees. Everyone would make a little money and the prices would moderate to keep clients.

    The tribes are looking for a golden buffalo, those dont come around every day. And no the pot business is nothing like the casinos were 20 years ago.

    At least at the Rosebud casino you could gamble a little, get some good home made food, and catch some sleep. If you dont like pulling handles or pushing buttons, there isnt enough to do to keep a pot smoker occupied. Every reservation I’ve ever been to had plenty of nature, but very little other then that to keep people interested. The pot business wont work like that.

    There’s more to making money selling cannabis then selling cannabis. Its about atmosphere, its about being able to relax without worrying about if your going to get busted when you leave, and its about building a future within your capabilities. The money that OJ is looking for was only possible “before Colorado,” on the Rosebud. Now they will just have to dream smaller.

    Now for the other reasons to plan carefully if your on the tribal council.

    If the Rosebud casino is a money maker, why hasnt the wind turbine been fixed for what, six years? And why doesnt the tribe still hold all the paper on it.

    And why did the new grocery store in Mission cost so much, take so long to build, and cant keep their shelves stocked? And who is holding the paper on that building?

    The drug business is nothing new for the Rosebud. Fifty years ago it was booze, forty years ago it was pot and cocaine, and for the last twenty years its been meth. Some of the names you hear every day when talking about the Rosebud got their start, or saved the ranch, by importing and selling illegal things.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Those same people will now get the oppertunity to make legal money selling pot.

    The Blindman

  6. Kim Wright

    Deb, as an Independent activist, I have worked with OJ over the years and have found him a very informed, neutral man who not only sees the big picture but considers all things in his actions. Interesting ideas he is now offering….

  7. Bill Dithmer

    Deb you can talk to OJ here.


    The Blindman

  8. Deb Geelsdottir

    Thank you, Kim and Blindman.

  9. OJ Semans Sr,

    First of all Cory thanks for bringing this to the attention of others and I wanted to respond as best I can to some of the comments.

    Although I am not known probably outside of Indian Country, I believe I have started a dialog with different State and County officials who realize I am not going away and have actually opened the door to make this a better state.

    Although this may have nothing to do with this post I have to give a shout out and much gratitude to the South Dakota Secretary of State Shantel S. Krebs she as a new young and upcoming leader gives me hope.

    As for looking for the golden buffalo that’s not in my plan, remember GOLD was the reason our sacred lands were stolen from us. When I talk about legalizing marijuana it’s not just about economic development it is also about keeping tribal members out of Federal prison for nonviolent crimes. Remember if the good citizens of South Dakota are convicted of a felon they can go to the Governor for a pardon, but we Tribal members have to go to the President.

    I know marijuana is where casinos were 20 years ago the difference being the income does not go directly to the Tribe but its members. For every business started a job or jobs will be created. As far as Hemp is concerned our Tribe has close to one millions acres of land that we lease the majority out to non-Indians and again the money goes to the Tribal government.

    With hemp we can grow twice as much in less time than most agriculture products and the operations will be conducted by Tribal members and the profit will go to Tribal members.
    I know for a fact we can bring in investors to create factories to produce the oils, paper products, fabrics, ropes to name a few all of which would create more businesses by Tribal members and more jobs.

    As for the homemade food at the casino with marijuana legalized we will also sell more food and fill up our hotel rooms. This will also create less crime where Law Enforcement biggest worry would be that the smokers may steal there twinkles and/or donuts. Also let’s not just focus on recreational marijuana, medicinal marijuana will help those with cancer, glaucoma and PTSD which is a rampant on the reservation.

    Because reservations are under Federal Jurisdiction arm hands were tied until the Cole memorandum regardless of what other states were doing we were stuck with Federal law. I also understand that marijuana is still a schedule 1 narcotic and DOJ cannot change that and DOJ just deprioritized it. Therefore every step we take must be calculated to ensure the safety of our members. No I don’t think that our members will become millionaires but it will create income that stays here.

    As for the whys, any type of government is bad for running a business but it’s been proven over and over individuals will do what it takes to make their dreams come true.

    Although the law considers marijuana as a drug, I look at it like I look at politicians sometimes and go with the less of two evils. I have seen what alcohol has done to our people and non-Indians for that matter and yet it is legal, marijuana is far less of the evil. Marijuana is far less of a gateway drug than alcohol is and I love my beer and I don’t do any type of drugs.

    As for the enforcement of actual drugs dealing such as meth I have the experience to make their life miserable as dealers and treatment for users by creating better laws to address the issue.

    Oh one last thing, I liked the “Put the Bud in Rosebud” and yes my phone number is 605-828-1422 and my email address is tateota@hotmail.com and remember vote for OJ OK

  10. I remember the 70’s & 80’s. Most of the recreational users of marijuana I knew, are all dead. Mostly from single car accidents. Watch out for those trees and telephone poles. One guy got high, then used a chain saw and chopped his face off. Some examples of what can possibly go wrong.

  11. Paul, was alcohol involved in these single car accidents?

  12. I am trying to wrap my head around the significance of the wind charger and the grocery store to putting hemp on the Rosebud, what are the similarities blindman? As far as the paper goes, what does that have to do with hemp on the Rosebud? It almost sounds as if you are envious of the possibility that there could be a successful run at something that you yourself benefit from.

    Any kind of profit for the tribe is a good thing and 6 million is not pocket change. I see that Mr. Semans indicates the growing of hemp as an industrial product, good thinking on that. I would think that around Black Pipe, for one place, would be a very good place for that. North Dakota tried to do that with some of the legislators that are farmers, trying to get it passed. Just across the border in Canada, they do grow it as a cash crop. Mr. Semans seems to me to be ahead of the curve there and I wish him success in his run for President.

  13. No alcohol jerry. Latest tweets from OJ. RST going to be an OJ family business:

    That awkward feeling you get on Facebook when your friends and relatives are running for the same office. LOL

    Filed a request for jurisdiction with election board can individuals living on deeded land run for office outside jurisdiction of RST

  14. mike from iowa

    Mr Semans Sr, I would trust the Obaminator for a pardon long before I’d trust a wingnut guv.for anything other than tax breaks for the koch bros. Obama has been a major disappoint for me,overall,but…… As an aside,Obama must be alright if Marco Rubio claims Obama has no class. Class to wingnuts means mocking people that ask for help.

  15. I agree with Jerry that I’m pleased to see industrial hemp as a component of OJ’s economic development plan. I wonder which would generate more revenue, industrial hemp or recreational marijuana?

  16. I am sorry for your loss Paul, but as someone who had on many occasions, smoked and have been around those that had as well, there problem always seemed to be driving way to slow. Now if there was any alcohol in the mix, that is a red line that seemed to me, totally dangerous and out of control. You have your cases you point to and I can point to myself to disagree. Regardless, no one should ever be under the influence of anything while driving. That would include these prescription drugs and cold medication as well.

    I would love to go to the Rose to purchase pain medication and throw my crap away. I cannot do both as you must sign an agreement with the powers to be that you will only use their drug and they make you pee in the bottle for that before you even leave the office. They can then randomly make you do that whenever they want to. If they find substance in your system, no soup for you. Legalize medical marijuana and legalize hemp for our future.

  17. jerry,

    There should have been a presidential debate with candidates like Iron Shell & VP Tuffy. I’m not running, but add advice. Will new RST counsel make a motion to buy into this or impeach OJ president 5 or 6 months down the road. Like Whitey Scott? RST will be train wreck, never mind the pot business and income.

  18. Bill Dithmer

    ” I am trying to wrap my head around the significance of the wind charger and the grocery store to putting hemp on the Rosebud, what are the similarities blindman?”

    Both Paul and OJ could tell this story better then I can. When the tribe built the Rosebud Casino they built a huge wind turbine to offset the cost of electricity to run the casino. It was advertised as being “almost green,” and every picture taken from any angle had that big turbine in the frame. You could see it from fifteen miles away, and if you had good eyes you could see the blades turn from ten.

    The tribe went into the casino business with good intentions but somewhere along the line they lost enough money that they had to barrow some. The only thing they had for collateral was that casino. They found at that time a tribe that recently came into a lot of casino money, the Shakopee in Minnesota.
    Well Rosebud had trouble paying their bills and kept going back to the Shakopee for more money. Somewhere along the line the wind turbine stopped. Those old turbines didnt require constant matanince, but they needed it on a regular basis. It didnt get it and it died.

    Then the tribe decided that they wanted to sell groceries in Mission so they built a store. I’m sure you wont have any trouble finding articles about problems right from the start. It ended up costing over twice what it should have and took years to complete. The last time I was there the shelves were almost bare, but that was three years ago so I’m hopping things are better now.

    When they ran into money problems again. From the sound of the indian telegraph, the Shakopee were reluctant but came through with more money. There were a lot of executive sessions at council meetings right about then so much of what went on is still unknown. One thing is for sure, now there are at least two tribes that hold paper on both projects. Add to that mix Wells Fargo and possibly the Seminole tribe. Like I said OJ and Paul could tell you a lot more.

    The Rosebud isnt alone. The people on the Pine Ridge also got loans from the Shakopee. About five years ago the Shakopee tried to take Pine Ridges lease monies. A couple of years ago the feds ruled that lease monies could not be used for that purpose. I dont know where they are now on money owed.

    I have a lot of friends that live on the Rosebud. I spent a good many years training dogs, fishing, buying their drugs, and listening. I played guitar and got together with former tribal president Webster Two Hawks daughter Shannon a couple of times a week for a few years at the Norris Pool Hall. She is smart just like her dad and well worth listening to. It doesnt hurt to have a family of friends that are the single biggest land leasers on the Rosebud. And yes they are natives.

    Dont misread my thoughts on legalization of both hemp and pot on the Rosebud, I stand fully behind those efforts. But you have to wunder where all that startup money will come from?

    ” I agree with Jerry that I’m pleased to see industrial hemp as a component of OJ’s economic development plan. I wonder which would generate more revenue, industrial hemp or recreational marijuana?”

    Cory thats easy. Recreational pot now, but in the long run hemp . After all the plants are built for processing and the crop is brought in, they could make some real money.

    In Canada three years ago they could make just under $3,000 an acre with hemp, after cost. If the tribe could just get 20,000 acres under cultivation, and make $1000 an acre that comes out to $20,000,000 and that aint to bad. $1500 gets them $30,000,000 and $2000 gets them a cool $40,000,000.

    That would heal a lot of problems. But it can only happen if the finances are handled right.

    The Blindman

  19. Deb Geelsdottir

    My marijuana and driving anecdote:

    I smoked the weed 40 years ago when I was in college. I can tell you that my driving speed Reeeally Sloooooooowed Dooooooooooooown. One night when I was driving stoned I slowly crept down into the ditch on a country road. I got out of my car, very surprised that I was there. Then, on that beautiful summer night, I noticed how pretty the stars were. I laid down next to my car and took a long nap. (Many of my friends had similar experiences.)

    I also drove drunk in college. I was much more dangerous then.

  20. Okay blindman, I understand where you were going with the paper. I also understand where the real money is in hemp production. In Missouri http://blog.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2015/04/missouri-senate-committee-passes-bill-to-legalize-hemp-farming-effectively-nullify-federal-ban-5-0/

    In South Dakota, only the reservations seem to have any interest in claiming the huge potential rewards for hemp farming. You really do not need much water, you really do not need those spendy chemicals for bugs. What you need is some hot weather that will grow weeds. We have that here. Put hemp in places where cheat grass flourishes, I am thinking the weed will kill the cheat. In the meantime, D Daugaard looks at his belly button and try’s to figure how he can get the Chinese to get blindsided again with some other eb-5 type scam while letting honest opportunity drift on by.

  21. Ron Sasso loves him some Ronald Reagan, Bob Newland. I would bet the farm that he knows better or he is really is a dummy and not to be taken seriously.

  22. [Hey, “Paul”, if you want you comments to get through the moderation filter, I need you to give me a real, consistent e-mail address so I can privately verify your identity.]

  23. OJ Semans Sr,


    reference to Latest tweets from OJ. RST going to be an OJ family business:

    I never tweeted the above but we do say and believe in Mitakuye Oyasin (We are all related). I also realize my humor is not understood.

    Well today is Election Day on the Rosebud and what will be decided today with the top two vote getters moving on to the August General Election. It will be interesting because I am the only Presidential Candidate who is openly using Marijuana for Economic Development so if I was to lose it could be considered a test vote the Marijuana issue.

    Either way I’m happy and will follow the voice of the people.

    Remember voting for OJ is OK when voting for me. lol

  24. Native humor is something that many cannot understand. It can be biting and it can be informative, in your case Mr. Semans, it was truthful humor. I hope that you have a big smile on your face at the end of the day with the vote count.

  25. Just because of the interest I wanted to let everyone know I lost as of this time willie kindle is top vote getter with Tuffy Lunderman second. My worst fear came to be the smokers eat through the election lol. The interesting thing now is to see if marijuana or hemp will go any further.

    All I can say is 20 dollars gave a hell of a GOTV

  26. Next time OJ, I guess now we know why the shelves were low at the store, to many rolls and ho ho’s went out the door. Next time, wojapi and fry bread on election day for the go getters. http://www.reznetnews.org/opinion/blog/2012/rez-recipes-frybread-and-wojapi

    You ideas are sound, maybe you could help advise the new leaders into declaring something that would truly make a difference. For the naysayers, point to the north, to Canada on how it is done and what the rewards will bring to help relive the suffering. Good luck

  27. Mr. OJ, I respect your attempts. I do, sir. I think the vote was probably wise. I think your voters are wise. If they were not, my friend Bob would be tacking up signs in your neighborhood right now.

  28. [Paul doesn’t trust me with his ID; Paul is thus on hold until he ges over himself and shares a real e-mail address with me privately.]

    Sorry to hear you didn’t make the primary cut, OJ. I know you’re a savvy politician and would lead the community well.

    Interesting to view this primary as a test case for the marijuana issue. How was turnout? Were voters aware of your stand on hemp? Did that issue really influence the vote, or did Kindle and Lunderman prevail for other reasons?

  29. RST Channel 93 webcast the results here:


    From that video, I see that Ann-erika White Bird also missed the primary cut, coming in third. Julia Peneaux placed first with 632 votes, then Gerri Night Pipe at 598, then White Bird at 335.