Interview: Melissa Mentele on South Dakota’s Medical Cannabis Initiative

Melissa Mentele (pronounced /MET-lee/) of New Approach South Dakota brought her medical cannabis petition to the Brown County Fair today. She says she doesn’t go looking for press, but she gave Dakota Free Press five and a half minutes of this very muggy afternoon to talk about the “Walker Brigade” and numerous other unlikely volunteers working hard to put NASD’s initiative on the ballot:

Mentele responds to the dumbest interviewer question of the day (I really didn’t mean to say “lighting up”—sorry, Melissa!) with the most surprising petition statement of the day: “Most of our signers are 50 and above.”

Mentele has petitioners around the state; the next big events for signers are Riverboat Days in Yankton next weekend, then the South Dakota State Fair in Huron September 3–7. She also says she has a volunteer at the Minnehaha County Courthouse every business day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


69 Responses to Interview: Melissa Mentele on South Dakota’s Medical Cannabis Initiative

  1. Porter Lansing

    A very high percentage of 50 plus voters of all three blocks (Dem – Repub – Unaffiliated) legalized in CO. Pot is good for the aches and pains of being older.

  2. She’s good. I thought the interview was nearly flawless until she took God’s name in vain around the 5:15 mark. Be careful not to alienate traditional libertarian Protestants, Melissa. We’re natural allies on this issue. :-)

  3. Deb Geelsdottir

    I was very moved by the lobbying done by parents of young children in MN. They were relentless and passionate for their children. Many of them had been illegally providing a form of marijuana to their children already. Others had been forced to split up their families. The mother and child moved to Colorado, Oregon or a similar state so they could provide relief to their afflicted child, while the husband and other children remained in MN. The weed had relieved the onslaught of dozens of seizures per day, the twisting of musculoskeletal diseases, and other debilitations.

    In fact, the bill before the legislature was dead in the water because Gov. Dayton had vowed to veto it. Those mom’s brought their wheelchair bound children to the governor’s mansion. (He was laid up with a hip problem.) Dayton allowed one or two in to see him. He was so moved by their passion that he changed his mind and signed the bill.

    MN’s Medical Marijuana Law became effective this year and the sky is still up there. My prediction is that it will stay there for my lifetime at least.

  4. happy camper

    Good interview. Fyi the second link doesn’t load. Wanted to read the petition to see how strictly medical it reads. It’s saved some kids lives who have had dangerous seizures as Deb mentions above. They really need to make clear it’s medical to ease the mind of detractors.

  5. My focus in college was majoring in Business Management/Marketing with a minor in Political science. Whether your talking sales or working in a political environment part of what’s involved is motivating people to act.

    Those who pushed for a medical marijuana law in South Dakota have failed a number of times in past elections. Who were behind this? Two groups.

    One group includes those who are for legalization of all drugs which includes those with a history of self medicating, addiction and recreational users. NORML a pro-full legalization of marijuana group openly stated that the next time after years failed attempts to legalize for rec use they would go a different route to market it medically to gain sympathy and soften the public opinion on the recreational use of marijuana.

    The 2nd group are those people suffering legitimate medical conditions that would be able to benefit from medicine compounds extracted from the marijuana plant backed by real objective science not influenced by the marijuana industry.

    Minnesota’s Medical Marijuana Law is the most medically focused and restrictive in the nation. Think of the legacy of Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota hospital and the innovative and flourishing medical related industries in Minnesota such as Medtronic. These physicians have spent years on their continuing education and building their reputations and practices. They are not the $25.00 pot doctors at a clinic open 24/7 known as a joke in many states that was just a soft way to get their weed with a system set up to be “gamed”.

    Minnesota’s 9 categories are based on real unbiased science and if there are future studies with the same rigorous standards they can expand those 9 categories. PTSD is not included in Minnesota’s law. Even Colorado that has fully legalized for recreational use marijuana and has been known for very lax standards for medical use as being a joke has rejected PTSD as a qualifying condition 3 times. That’s 3 times with the 3rd being very recent!

  6. happy camper

    This is medical Lynn. MEDICAL. It’s true people like me would support a different recreational use law mainly because I detest the drug trade, torture, and loss of life. Mexican lives matter too, but this is a Medical Petition.

  7. Melissa’s petition and medical marijuana ballot initiative is very different from Minnesota’s. It’s actually a very smart move politically in that she is building as broad of a coalition as possible to help promote this which dramatically increases the chances of passing.

    My opinion and research is her initiative includes numerous holes in to allow abuse similar to states such as Colorado and California where it is essentially a softer less threatening legalization of recreational marijuana which has been well documented as a gateway drug for those more susceptible to addiction.

    That coalition again includes legitimate people suffering medical conditions that would benefit from real objective medical marijuana, addicts, rec users and especially those out of state Big Marijuana interests that see a very broad market with incredible profits to be made.

    Ever try to reason with an alcohol or drug addict that is still using? It’s like talking to a wall. lol

    When there is an incredible amount of money to be made do you ever take the time to think what this person or business has to gain by certain studies they spew to gain your vote or your money? Are they really looking out for your best interests or theirs?

    Ever try to buy a used car in a bigger city? Do you trust what they say?

    When the Rachel from card member services scammer robo calls your house illegally and repeatedly after you have been put on the do not call list do you take the offer?

    Minnesota’s law being far more focused medically and restrictive is far less profitable and it would be very difficult to abuse. Big marijuana doesn’t like it. Addicts and rec users don’t like it.

  8. When I post anything on this blog that is related to marijuana in regards to public policy I realize that among the commentators here I am in a minority. The use of marijuana has never been a part of my life nor those who I socialize with.

    This blog has indirectly enabled and promoted legalization of the current medical marijuana ballot initiative and full legalization of recreational marijuana. That’s cool since that’s what it’s marketed to. I’m not here posting to try and change the minds of the majority of commenters here but it’s for those readers that may come across a posting such as this and realize that there are two sides and consequences to each of these.

    Melissa mentioned that there will always be South Dakotans that will get high. She’s right! There will also be people out there that are addicted or more vulnerable to addiction. The problem is that with a flawed medical marijuana law which enables the system to be “gamed” essentially a softer less threatening way that tugs at your heart legalization of recreational marijuana that we will see an even more increase of youth using and more cases of addiction.

  9. Kurt, while I understand the PR point you’re making, voters who would chuck all their other principles to shoot down a ballot measure just because the main petition organizer said “Oh my God” need to reconfigure their priorities. They should be more irate at all the politicians who claim that God told them to run. Wrapping one’s personal political aspirations in pretensions of divine anointment is far more an abuse of the sacred for one’s vanity that three words used colloquially.

    Given the minutial nature of the argument, I’ll defend Mentele and note that she did not technically take the Lord’s name in vain; she quoted what other people would say in the understandable shock they feel when “education and good studies” reveal to them that they can ditch their deadly opiate medicines and use something safer.

  10. larry kurtz

    Ms. Mentele, you are a matriot! After your red moocher state legislature guts your brave initiative if it passes i will help you get my plan into committee.

  11. Happy, the second link… the cannabis petition itself? It should open the full four-page petition in PDF format on the Secretary of State’s website:

    https://sdsos.gov/elections-voting/assets/2016_IM_LegalizeMarijuana.pdf

    You can also read the petition in larger print at this link, with the Attorney General’s explanation:

    https://sdsos.gov/elections-voting/assets/2016_IM_MedicalMarijuana.pdf

    Do those work?

  12. Lynn, for what it’s worth, I get the impression that Melissa is fully in the second camp you describe and not in the first. Perhaps, like Kurt’s traditional Libertarian Protestants, I ascribe too much meaning to casually spoken words, but notice the language she uses at 3:39 concerning recreational use: “People in South Dakota are already smoking pot. There’s already a problem here.” The leader of the medical cannabis initiative refers to “smoking pot” as a “problem.” I believe her use of the word “pot” would earn her Mr. Kurtz’s criticism.

  13. happy camper

    But Lynn have you ever tried to take food away from Chris Christie? We all have a different perspective, and I don’t share Larry’s views on much, but he posted a truthful joke of that obese man saying marijuana leads to a loss of self control. Hypocrite like many of those against marijuana for political reasons. Thanks Cory couldn’t bring it up before.

    https://twitter.com/BRios82/status/628706127698485248/photo/1

  14. Jokes about “sky is falling if marijuana is legalized”, “it’s harmless”, “it’s good for you” are all fine and dandy at times but it is far from reality. Since we are talking about a flawed, softer, more sympathetic masked as medical but really recreational marijuana ballot initiative I’ll point out a few things.

    In a perfect world it would be great for people to have practically ultimate liberty in how they live their lives and they could use whatever drugs they desired. Unfortunately their choices and habits negatively spill out and affect the rest of us.

    South Dakota can offer a unique and at times an insulated place to live and raise a family. Even though access to drugs are everywhere there are problems and issues that are far more common in metropolitan areas and sometimes geographic/socio-economic regions of the country than here in South Dakota. Many people have lived in their “bubbles” most of their lives never or rarely leaving South Dakota or limited their exposure via their careers to what goes on in other parts of the country. Look at Chicago and the incredible amount of gun violence and death. It’s daily life there in some parts of that metro? Constant danger.

    Marijuana is sold as this innocent plant but it’s far from the truth, is another intoxicant and the strains today are far more potent than the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and will only increase in potency given demand. If you have ever owned or managed a business, rental properties or whatever you have probably dealt with those affected by addiction and/or a loss of control/not being responsible. It costs you in productivity, can be a liability and your profitability. Those problems will only increase with legalization and it is far more common depending on the industry and in larger populated areas.

    Pro pot activists claim it’s not addictive but why do they feel the need to keep getting high day after day after day?

    Here are a few news stories of just how bad it is in some manufacturing plants and believe me this is not isolated to these plants. It happens in many places of work to some degree.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SSOoWy6opg A defense plant in Detroit

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzyRjX_pX5c Chrysler plant workers caught

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B_YI7vQZdA Chrysler execs and management respond

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxK4kP1fPtA Chrysler workers caught again months afterwards.

    These would be great high paying jobs in South Dakota with benefits. They were reported by co-workers tired of working with stoned or drunk co-workers that affected their productivity, most likely bonuses based on production and quality goals, concern for personal safety with moving production lines, operating heavy equipment and job security with many auto production jobs going to Mexico or Asia.

    This happens! It’s not isolated. Think of the added costs businesses will have in drug testing with legalization and insurance liability. Expect the pro-pot advocates to tell you my concerns are not valid by their pot industry supported data. Yeah right! lol

  15. Comment awaiting moderation? lol

  16. PORTER LANSING

    Very quaint comments on an issue CO passed 15 year ago. Mr. Heidelberger’s Freudian slip (lighting up) was as entertaining as actually hearing the voice behind his apocryphal word processor. To finish, may I quote Ms. Mentele? “Nobody’s gonna die.”

  17. I have a post waiting to be posted if it ever is to support my argument with some excellent links. Right now your reading all the postings from pro-medical marijuana advocates and those for full legalization. They will make it sound all harmless, non-threatening, with stories that will tug at your heart backed up with the same biased and influenced studies by big Marijuana.

    When the election gets closer you will see various groups and speakers come forward to inform you of the REAL SOCIAL COSTS of legalization overshadowing the cost of the war on drugs and debunk bogus claims. They will be outspent by Big Marijuana in advertising and social media by paid posters just like what happened in Colorado and other states that legalized. They will be attacked and credibility questioned as being supported by the “police unions, big pharma, prison industrial complex and lord only knows what else. lol

    With this thread watch the usual attacks against me and what I post by those who feel threatened. :)

    Btw! I will be traveling today and most of tomorrow and will be unable to respond.

  18. larry kurtz

    Don’t let the door hit you in the head on your way to the car, Lynn.

  19. Bill Fleming

    Lynn, if you’re going to post multiple links, you need to do it with multiple posts, and limit yourself to one link per post, otherwise you’ll get caught in the spam blocker, not just here but on most blogs everywhere.

    Better yet, write your own stuff. Most of us have plenty of self-imposed ‘reading assignments’ and don’t really need the distraction unless what you’re linking to is really unique, entertaining, enlightening or otherwise atypically worthwhile. Thanks!

  20. Those videos include videos of investigative reporting at a TV station. They put a lot of time into it and did a pretty good job. sorry! gotta go!

  21. links*

  22. barry freed

    Weed was Willie’s “gateway drug” to more Weeeeed, Gasp… shudder.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tJXjt5D4zY

  23. happy camper

    Lynn would like to distract and complicate the issue, but this petition is about MEDICAL MARIJUANA. That said many of us have read about the true nature of the drug trade for many years and are sickened by the cartels and the failed war on drugs. It’s horrific what they do, but so much of it is south of the boarder so most Americans care less about what happens down there. It’s really too graphic to talk about in an open forum but makes a person shudder. Where appropriate we need to stop funding crime. If we can’t stop it, that’s really all we’re doing. I’m starting to think Lynn is the paid poster!

  24. [I would prefer that all hyperlinks come with at least one line of explanation so we know what we’re clicking on. If the URL includes terms that make clear what’s there, great. But bare YouTube links don’t tell us what’s coming. Summaries, context, please.]

  25. Bill is right about the moderation filter: it gets touchy about multiple links. I don’t mind comments with multiple links (I make them all the time), but understand that such comments may go the moderation filter, which I may not get to while out petitioning, biking to Columbia, playing Uno, etc.

  26. Middle aged fellows like Bob and Lar like to toke up and “get the buzz on” just like younger folks do. Depravity has no age limit.

  27. Porter Lansing

    Ms. Lynn,
    You’ve got some paranoia going on in that “big brain” of yours. There wasn’t (in CO) and won’t be any “big money” from a non-existent “big marijuana” factions (in SD) that give a hoot whether your state has legal weed or not. (The tribes will be able to handle the demand just fine). It’s a misdemeanor without a victim, no matter what invalid evidence you can drum up against it.
    I believe you and many of your like minded voters are so conditioned by Christian extreme evangelists who prosthelytize their position ad nauseam that you believe the Devil is at work here. Nobody outside your state really cares what your laws are as long as we don’t have to live under their duress. If Dakota pot laws are going to be changed it will be because your voters “feel” they should be changed without prodding or asking what someone else thinks. If the laws don’t change, that’s fine, too. There “IS” a 2000 lb. gorilla in the issue, but it’s one of those things that’s SO important that no one talks about it for fear it won’t happen. But it will happen.
    Lynn, I believe you just have an overwhelming desire to “tell people what to do”. It’s akin to the males who believe they have a right to tell women what to do regarding their health. We call it the “you oughta’s” and it’s a fine preoccupation but your’s is a bit over the top, ma’am. In your own tactic, “you ought’a” give yourself a break. (You needn’t respond to me. I know you’re not in a place to assess counsel, right now.)

  28. Porter Lansing

    @Mr. Barry Free’d … Never seen that video. Outstanding!! AND it’s pleasant to see a commentor here without a “stick up their donkey” about the issue and able to realize the humor within. It’s really not about pot. Pot is benign. It’s about change; and that’s a difficult “leap of faith” for many in the Pasqueflower State.

  29. Glad you could get the petition to click up, Happy! Here’s a photo of Mentele and me with the fold-out petition:

    Melissa Mentele and CA Heidelberger showing medical cannabis petition

    It’s huge, but it shows how Rick and Drey will get their massive anti-corruption initiative on one big folded sheet of paper.

  30. happy camper

    The thing is Lynn, Cory is a teetotaler, so he is in no way in favor of imbibing or promoting others to do so. The issue is kind of complicated, but if you can’t laugh at that Chris Christie pic courtesy of Kurtz then you can’t laugh at nothin.

  31. Cory just needs to chug a couple of beers with Bob.

  32. No thanks, Grudz. I’m annoying on any mind-altering beverage, from coffee on out.

  33. happy camper

    At least that’s something we can all agree.

  34. Vote no on this FLAWED/FAKE medical marijuana ballot initiative. Ask instead for REAL medical marijuana law exactly as Minnesota has implemented.

  35. larry kurtz

    iced tea is a mind altering beverage so is guava juice, cory: pull up your big boy panties and back cannabis rights reform in my home state.

  36. happy camper

    Lynn, let South Dakota handle their own laws.

  37. Keep pushing me, Larry, and I’ll put my big oppositional defiant pants on and throw in with AG Jackley against anything with cannabis written on it. As it is, I spent part of my petition time today telling Republican operatives they wouldn’t find any statutory backing for trying to throw Gaddy’s pot petitioners off the Brown County Fairgrounds. Don’t ask me for more than that… especially when Gaddy can’t keep his people and his message focused and clutters up his petition organizing page with tired Bosworth propaganda.

    Let’s watch Mentele’s group and see what they can pull off this fall with their petition. Then let’s see how well they do organizing GOTV. They appear to be on their way to having more success than the other group. Mentele’s ability to focus on the issues, as demonstrated in the above video, is a big reason why.

  38. larry kurtz

    History is being written, Cory: sure hope you’re on the winning side of it.

  39. Cory wrote:
    >“Kurt, while I understand the PR point you’re making, voters who would chuck all their other principles to shoot down a ballot measure just because the main petition organizer said ‘Oh my God’ need to reconfigure their priorities.”

    I didn’t mean to suggest anyone would do that. I was looking at it from the perspective of persuading Christians who don’t yet have strong opinions on the issue.

    >“Given the minutial nature of the argument …”

    We’re talking about one of the Ten Commandments. I’m not trying to force anyone to believe in the rule or follow it, but I think dismissing it as “minutial” will generally tend to alienate Christians.

  40. We must take care in our language not to offend others’ tender sensibilities concerning their religious beliefs. We must be very careful to be parochially correct.

  41. Uh oh—I just called a Commandment minutial. But in the context of the full Ten, I’d maintain that #3, along with #2 and #4, seem trivial compared with the main business of not killing, stealing, cheating on your spouse, or lying about your neighbor.

    I don’t know Melissa’s beliefs, but I will acknowledge that if I say, “Oh my God” I’m committing a sin against my own consistency, using a colloquial expression with no substantive meaning.

  42. bearcreekbat

    Kurt, perhaps substituting the phrase “Jumpin’ Jehosaphat!” could appease those with serious religious sensibilities.

  43. Cory wrote:
    >>“Uh oh—I just called a Commandment minutial. But in the context of the full Ten, I’d maintain that #3, along with #2 and #4, seem trivial compared with the main business of not killing, stealing, cheating on your spouse, or lying about your neighbor.”

    Well, yeah, but you’re an atheist. None of them seem trivial to those of us who believe the Bible is true.

    By the way, I’m pretty sure I know what you mean by #3, #2 and #4, but for future reference, there isn’t universal agreement about exactly how the Ten Commandments are subdivided:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Commandments#Traditions_for_numbering

    “Bearcreekbat” wrote:
    >“Kurt, perhaps substituting the phrase ‘Jumpin’ Jehosaphat!’ could appease those with serious religious sensibilities.”

    Actually some of us would even try to avoid using “Jehosaphat” in that context, on the grounds that it originated as a euphemism for Jesus and Jehovah:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehoshaphat#In_popular_culture

  44. bearcreekbat

    Kurt, then “gosh,” golly,” and “gee” are sacrilegious and out of bounds too?

    http://blog.dictionary.com/golly-gosh-and-gee/

  45. Bill Dithmer

    The Ten Cammandments are explained here.http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CE8ooMBIyC8

    there appears to be a few to many.

    The Blindman

  46. happy camper

    He got it down to three. What would we do without these funny people?

  47. mike from iowa

    Sacrebleu?

  48. “bearcreekbat” wrote:
    >>“Kurt, then ‘gosh,’ golly,’ and ‘gee’ are sacrilegious and out of bounds too?”

    I’m not sure whether using those euphemisms is as bad as taking the actual names “God” and “Jesus” in vain, but based partly on the advice of my fifth grade Sunday school teacher, I try to avoid them.

    “mike from iowa” wrote:
    >“Sacrebleu?”

    Why risk it? :-)

  49. BCB, I would love to see more Jehosaphats and other such anachronistic expressions peppering stump speeches.

    Kurt, even if I were a believer, I’d have a hard time accepting the #2–#4 carry as much weight as the others. They aren’t useless—they certainly aren’t as silly as some of the Old Testament prohibitions on shaving and certain meats—but they don’t strike me as priorities. Our secular authorities interpret them similarly: killing and stealing land you in jail (unless you run EB-5 visa investment programs), but “Oh my God!” just gets you negative blog feedback.

  50. Porter Lansing

    @Mr. Evans ? …. face palm

  51. Deb Geelsdottir

    There is “Oh my God,” and “Oh my god.” I interpret the 2nd as a common exclamation having nothing to do with religion.

    It’s interesting to note that the 10 Commands don’t address common profanity, just deity names. My confirmation students always wanted to interpret that as permission to swear freely. Ah, no. There is the one about honoring and respecting parents. If mom and/or dad say, “Don’t swear”, you don’t swear. Then there’s all that about one behaves in the community. So if profanity is not welcomed in your neighborhood, don’t swear. My students were literally and observably crestfallen at that. Confirmands can be very funny.

  52. bearcreekbat

    I recall that when surprised or upset my grandmother, an active member of two congregations (she played the piano and sang solo hymns every Sunday in 2 different churches), would say “dammit.” My grandfather, a very religious fellow who studied the Bible and spent many hours discussing religious ideas with his 6 brothers and sisters (several hours were taped on old reel tapes), would use the phrase “I’ll be go to hell.”

    It pains me to think that Kurt would speculate that these wonderful folks might now be burning eternally in hell for such transgressions, despite leading otherwise exemplary lives.

  53. Bringing this thread back on topic. The main pro-medical marijuana group New Approach South Dakota that helped write the current flawed/fake ballot initiative for a 2016 vote recently posted this statement on their facebook page.

    “We have received several inquiries over the past few weeks regarding corporate partnerships we may have. NASD would like to assure everyone we are still locally managed and we are still 100% SD patient focused. We have not accepted any out of state money to further our mission of medical access in SD. We have maintained our autonomy by having a strong determined volunteer force. We are very proud of our successes and find the rumors insulting.”

    Although this is good to read for the time being there is the question if their will be a funding/partnership by out of state corporate Big Marijuana as we get closer to the 2016 election.

    It may not even be a direct partnership with New Approach South Dakota or any of the other numerous pro-pot legalization efforts here in South Dakota but more than likely media ads and an intensive well funded marketing campaign paid for by a or a few nationwide pro-marijuana advocacy group which is funded by out of state Big Marijuana that is flush with cash and sees another very lucrative market especially with a medical marijuana bill that can be “gamed” for recreational users and those dealing with addiction.

    Again, you will see their well funded marketing campaign ramp up before the 2016 election and will outspend those who oppose it as demonstrated in Colorado and other states where these ballot initiatives came up. You will see all kinds of bogus medical claims from using medical marijuana that will cure just about every malady known to mankind and stating how harmless it is.

    Next time you see an article in the Argus Leader or Television website that deals with any marijuana legalization effort look a little closer to see who is posting a well written script with the same key statements in favor of legalization of Marijuana. Are they from outside South Dakota? Is it Brian Kelly or a poster by the last name of Deutsch from Oakland, Ca that have commented in nearly every state where these initiatives have come up for a vote? Ask them if they are being paid to post by a national marijuana advocacy group or related company that stands to financially gain from legalization. You won’t be the 1st to ask since they have been confronted in other states. These two are just an example. There are many more from out of state that suddenly take an interest in South Dakota laws.

    Please Vote NO on this 2016 flawed/fake medical marijuana ballot initiative pushed by New Approach of South Dakota and ASK for a REAL medical marijuana ballot initiative that is exactly the same as Minnesota’s Medical Marijuana Law.

  54. larry kurtz

    Support therapeutic cannabis in Soith Dakota.

  55. larry kurtz

    South Dakota, too.

  56. Therapeutic? Yeah like Therapeutic LSD, Therapeutic bottle of whiskey with an ecstasy chaser, Therapeutic Meth, Therapeutic spray can of oil based paint with a plastic bag to huff, Therapeutic Crack and whatever an addict may say is Therapeutic to satisfy that addictive craving in an effort to self medicate.

    Lets ask for a real Medical Marijuana Law instead to help those that really need it based on REAL HARD SCIENCE not studies influenced by the Marijuana industry or some pothead just saying things. Vote NO on the 2016 SD Medical Marijuana Ballot measure.

  57. bearcreekbat

    Please ignore those with paranoia and xenophobia about “out-of-staters” regarding the medical marijuana initiative. Please don’t be distracted by the paranoid “big-marijuana” arguments that pander to prejudices about big this or big that. Please ignore the admonitions of those who have never used marijuana and have never provided medical services to sick folks that marijuana can help.

    Instead, please focus on the benefits that sick people will have from legalized marijuana rather than the fear mongering arguments that someone not sick might smoke it and feel good. Please think about the children with terrible seizure disorders that have had their lives tremendously improved by the use of medical marijuana, as well as those vets who have suffered physical and emotional damage while serving their country who can get relief from pain and seizures with medical marijuana.

    Please respect the opinions of long time Rapid City neurologist Dr. David Sabow about the benefits of medical marijuana, as well as the 76% of physicians who support medical marijuana, as well as the majority of doctors for legalization described in the web md reports. The opinions of trained doctors and providers of health care to the sick ought to carry significantly more weight than than the hysteria promulgated by anti-marijuana folks still living in the 1930’s “Reefer Madness” bubble.

    Please vote yes on medical marijuana for South Dakota. Thanks! you.

  58. larry kurtz

    Thanks, bat: real cannabis law needs to hacked out in committee but in the interim help those who need it most.

  59. Porter Lansing

    ~ Beware the zealot, for he will not only fight for his own right of worship, wherein he hath justice. He will also presume upon the consciences of others, thereby falling into the very error against which he fights. – Arthur Conan Doyle from “MICAH CLARKE”

  60. Deb Geelsdottir

    That’s an excellent comment BCB. Thanks for your thoughtfulness on the topic.

  61. Who is the supporter that is paying the rent for New Approach’s offices? Monarch America?

  62. Bob Newland

    Lynn, It’s Steve Allender.

  63. That is a reasonable question. That money’s got to be coming from somewhere. We’ll get to find out in January on NASD’s year-end campaign finance report.

  64. I’m sure Melissa would be happy to disclose to us who is paying the rent for the new offices for New Approach rather than for us to wait until January. Monarch America?

  65. Melissa Mentele

    Oh Lynn the curiosity must be killing you BUT I am not telling :-) They office space was donated by a group of local Sioux Falls businesses that would like to remain anonymous. We are very grateful to them for the space & for the donation.

  66. Melissa,

    I’m sure there is a legal way to find out such as state election law disclosure or a few sources. :)

  67. Local Sioux Falls businesses wishing to remain anonymous for now—are they worried about backlash for supporting medical cannabis?

    I appreciate citizens who are willing to participate in political campaigns. I also appreciate the transparency afforded us by state campaign finance laws. South Dakota’s laws could do better on promoting that transparency, but

    It’s also worth noting that businesses are “organizations” under SDCL 1-27-1 and thus cannot contribute to candidates or parties but can contribute to ballot question committees (SDCL 12-27-18. Per SDCL 12-27-19, New Approach South Dakota will have to report these businesses’ donation on its next year-end finance report. Per that statute, those contributing organizations had to submit certain documentation of their registered business status to NASD before NASD could accept their donations.

    Say, Melissa, what’s the address of the new office?