New Approach Offers Draft Legislation to Legalize (and Tax!) Recreational Marijuana

We’ve seen the draft text of New Approach South Dakota’s proposed ballot initiatives for assisted suicide (taken from Washington State’s “Death with Dignity” Act) and their medical cannabis proposal (another swing at the measure they failed to get on the 2016 ballot). Now organizer Melissa Mentele shares with me the text of New Approach’s third big initiative, a measure to legalize and tax recreational use of marijuana.

None of these three initiatives will pass Greg Belfrage’s page-number test. Death with Dignity exceeds 4,000 words; Recreational Marijuana, 4,900; Medical Cannabis; 10,000. But hey—Initiated Measure 22 runs more than 15,000 words, and we passed that last November!

For what it’s worth, these are three initiatives that, if passed, I hope would never impact my personal life. On assisted suicide, I hope no one I love is ever stricken with a terminal illness that would make my loved one consider asking a doctor for a fatal prescription… although if the prognosis and the pain were that bad, I don’t think I’d stand in my loved one’s way.

On medical cannabis, I’d rather my loved ones never get sick, but if a doctor says medical cannabis would help treat my loved one’s illness or ease my loved one’s pain, then write me the prescription and get the government out of the way of our health care.

On recreational marijuana, well, I don’t even drink beer for fun. Alcohol, tobacco, marijuana—all stupid choices (ask Harold Weir, who is my model for parenting). I don’t plan to spend any of my capital—financial or political—on getting buzzed.

But here’s what might be coming to a petition near you. Read and discuss!

An Act to Regulate and Tax Marijuana Like Alcohol

Be it enacted by the people of South Dakota:

Section 1. Purpose and findings.

  1. In the interest of allowing law enforcement to focus on the growing methamphetamine, heroin, prescription drug problems, violent and property crimes, generating revenue for education and other public purposes, and individual freedom, the State of South Dakota finds and declares that the use of marijuana should be legal for persons 21 years of age or older and taxed in a manner similar to alcohol.
  2. In the interest of the health and public safety of our citizens, the people of the state of South Dakota further find and declare that marijuana should be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol so that:
    1. Individuals will have to show proof of age before purchasing marijuana;
    2. Selling, distributing, or transferring marijuana to minors and other individuals under the age of 21 shall remain illegal;
    3. Driving under the influence of marijuana shall remain illegal;
    4. Legitimate, taxpaying business people, and not criminal actors, will conduct sales of marijuana; and
    5. Marijuana sold in this state will be tested, labeled, and subject to additional regulations to ensure that consumers are informed and protected.
  3. In the interest of enacting rational policies for the treatment of all variations of the cannabis plant, the state of South Dakota further finds and declares that hemp should be regulated separately from strains of cannabis with higher delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentrations.
  4. The state of South Dakota further finds and declares that it is necessary to ensure consistency and fairness in the application of this chapter throughout the state and that, therefore, the matters addressed by this chapter are, except as specified herein, matters of statewide concern.

Section 2. Definitions. As used in this chapter unless the context otherwise requires:

  1. “Consumer” means a person 21 years of age or older who purchases marijuana or marijuana products for personal use by persons 21 years of age or older, but not for resale.
  2. “Department” means (SD Liquor Board or Retailers Association ) or its successor agency.
  3. “Immature marijuana plant” means a marijuana plant that has not flowered and which does not have buds that may be observed by visual examination.
  4. “Hemp” means the plant of the genus cannabis and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration that does not exceed threetenths percent on a dry weight basis of any part of the plant cannabis, or per volume or weight of marijuana product, or the combined percent of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid in any part of the plant cannabis regardless of moisture content.
  5. “Locality” means a municipality or, in reference to a location outside the boundaries of a municipality, a county.
  6. “Local regulatory authority” means the office or entity designated to process marijuana establishment applications by a municipality or, in reference to a location outside the boundaries of a municipality, a county.
  7. “Marijuana” means all parts of the plant of the genus cannabis, the seeds thereof, the resin extracted from any part of the plant, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds, or its resin, including marijuana concentrate. “Marijuana” does not include hemp, nor does it include fiber produced from the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant, sterilized seed of the plant which is incapable of germination, or the weight of any other ingredient combined with marijuana to prepare topical or oral administrations, food, drink, or other product.
  8. “Marijuana accessories” means any equipment, products, or materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, composting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, vaporizing, or containing marijuana, or for ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing marijuana into the human body.
  9. “Marijuana cultivation facility” means an entity registered to cultivate, prepare, and package marijuana and sell marijuana to retail marijuana stores, to marijuana product manufacturing facilities, to marijuana lounges, and to other marijuana cultivation facilities, but not to consumers. A marijuana cultivation facility may not produce marijuana concentrates, tinctures, extracts, or other marijuana products.
  10. “Marijuana establishment” means a marijuana cultivation facility, a marijuana lounge, a marijuana testing facility, a marijuana product manufacturing facility, or a retail marijuana store.
  11. “Marijuana product manufacturing facility” means an entity registered to purchase marijuana; manufacture, prepare, and package marijuana products; and sell marijuana and marijuana products to marijuana product manufacturing facilities, marijuana lounges, and retail marijuana stores, but not to consumers.
  12. “Marijuana products” means concentrated marijuana products and marijuana products that are comprised of marijuana and other ingredients and are intended for use or consumption, such as, but not limited to, edible products, ointments, and tinctures.
  13. “Marijuana testing facility” means an entity registered to test marijuana for potency and contaminants.
  14. “Possession limit” means the amount of marijuana that may be possessed at any one time by an individual over the age of 21.
    1. In reference to a South Dakota resident, the possession limit is no more than:
      1. One ounce of marijuana, no more than five grams of which may be concentrated marijuana;
      2. Five marijuana plants; and
      3. Any additional marijuana produced by the person’s marijuana plants, provided that any amount of marijuana in excess of one ounce of marijuana must be possessed in the same secure facility where the plants were cultivated.
    2. In reference to a person who is not a resident of South Dakota, the possession limit is no more than one fourth of an ounce of marijuana, including up to one gram of concentrated marijuana.
  15. “Public place” means any place to which the general public has access.
  16. “Retail marijuana store” means an entity registered to purchase marijuana from marijuana cultivation facilities and marijuana and marijuana products from marijuana product manufacturing facilities and to sell marijuana and marijuana products to consumers.
  17. “Unreasonably impracticable” means that the measures necessary to comply with the regulations require such a high investment of risk, money, time, or any other resource or asset that the operation of a marijuana establishment is not worthy of being carried out in practice by a reasonably prudent businessperson.

Section 3. Personal use of marijuana.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the following acts are not unlawful and shall not be a criminal or civil offense under South Dakota law or the law of any political subdivision of South Dakota or be a basis for seizure or forfeiture of assets under South Dakota law for persons 21 years of age or older:

  1. Possessing, consuming, growing, using, processing, purchasing, or transporting an amount of marijuana that does not exceed the possession limit;
  2. Transferring one ounce or less of marijuana and up to six immature marijuana plants to a person who is 21 years of age or older without remuneration;
  3. Controlling property where actions that described by this section occur; and
  4. Assisting another person who is 21 years of age or older in any of the acts described in this section.

Section 4. Restrictions on personal cultivation, penalty.

It is unlawful to cultivate marijuana plants in a manner that is contrary to this section.

  1. Marijuana plants may not be cultivated in a location where the plants are subject to public view, including to view from another private property, without the use of binoculars, aircraft, or other optical aids.
  2. A person who cultivates marijuana must take reasonable precautions to ensure the plants are secure from unauthorized access and access by a person under 21 years of age. For purposes of illustration and not limitation, cultivating marijuana in an enclosed, locked space that persons under 21 years of age do not possess a key to constitutes reasonable precautions.
  3. Marijuana cultivation may only occur on property lawfully in possession of the cultivator or with the consent of the person in lawful possession of the property.

A person who violates this section is guilty of a civil violation punishable by a fine of up to $750.

Section 5. Public smoking banned, penalty.

It is unlawful to smoke marijuana in a public place. A person who violates this section is guilty of a civil violation punishable by a fine of up to $100.

Section 6. Consuming marijuana in a moving vehicle, penalty.

  1. No person shall consume marijuana while operating or driving in a motor vehicle, boat, vessel, aircraft, or other motorized device used for transportation.
  2. Any person found in violation of this section may be fined not more than $200 or have his or her driver’s license suspended for up to six months, or both, for the first violation.
  3. Any person found in violation of this section may be fined not more than $500 or have his or her driver’s license suspended for up to one year, or both for each second or subsequent violation.

Section 7. False identification, penalty.

A person who is under 21 years of age may not present or offer to a marijuana establishment or the marijuana establishment’s agent or employee any written or oral evidence of age that is false, fraudulent, or not actually the minor’s own, for the purpose of:

  1. Purchasing, attempting to purchase, or otherwise procuring or attempting to procure marijuana; or
  2. Gaining access to a marijuana establishment.

A person who violates this section is guilty of a civil violation punishable by a fine not less than $200 and not more than $400.

Section 8. Unlawful marijuana extraction, penalties.

  1. No person, other than a marijuana product manufacturer complying with this chapter and department regulations, may perform solvent-based extractions on marijuana using solvents other than water or vegetable glycerin.
  2. A person who violates this section is guilty of a felony punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Section 9. Marijuana accessories authorized.

  1. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, it is not unlawful and shall not be an offense under South Dakota law or the law of any political subdivision of South Dakota or be a basis for seizure or forfeiture of assets under South Dakota law for persons 21 years of age or older to manufacture, possess, or purchase marijuana accessories, or to distribute or sell marijuana accessories to a person who is 21 years of age or older.
  2. A person who is 21 years of age or older is authorized to manufacture, possess, and purchase marijuana accessories, and to distribute or sell marijuana accessories to a person who is 21 years of age or older.

Section 10. Lawful operation of marijuana-related facilities.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the following acts, when performed by a retail marijuana store with a current, valid registration, or a person 21 years of age or older who is acting in his or her capacity as an owner, employee, or agent of a retail marijuana store, are not unlawful and shall not be an offense under South Dakota law or be a basis for seizure or forfeiture of assets under South Dakota law:

  1. Possessing, displaying, storing, or transporting marijuana or marijuana products;
  2. Purchasing marijuana from a marijuana cultivation facility;
  3. Purchasing marijuana or marijuana products from a marijuana product manufacturing facility;
  4. Delivering or transferring marijuana or marijuana products to a marijuana testing facility; and
  5. Delivering, distributing, or selling marijuana or marijuana products to consumers or retail marijuana stores.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the following acts, when performed by a marijuana cultivation facility with a current, valid registration, or a person 21 years of age or older who is acting in his or her capacity as an owner, employee, or agent of a marijuana cultivation facility, are not unlawful and shall not be an offense under South Dakota law or be a basis for seizure or forfeiture of assets under South Dakota law:

  1. Cultivating, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, displaying, storing, or possessing marijuana;
  2. Delivering or transferring marijuana to a marijuana testing facility;
  3. Delivering, distributing, or selling marijuana to a marijuana cultivation facility, a marijuana product manufacturing facility, a marijuana lounge, or a retail marijuana store;
  4. Receiving or purchasing marijuana from a marijuana cultivation facility; and
  5. Receiving marijuana seeds or immature marijuana plants from a person 21 years of age or older.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the following acts, when performed by a product manufacturing facility with a current, valid registration, or a person 21 years of age or older who is acting in his or her capacity as an owner, employee, or agent of a product manufacturing facility, are not unlawful and shall not be an offense under South Dakota law or be a basis for seizure or forfeiture of assets under South Dakota law:

  1. Packaging, processing, transporting, manufacturing, displaying, or possessing marijuana or marijuana products;
  2. Delivering or transferring marijuana or marijuana products to a marijuana testing facility;
  3. Delivering or selling marijuana or marijuana products to a retail marijuana store, marijuana lounge, or a marijuana product manufacturing facility;
  4. Purchasing marijuana from a marijuana cultivation facility; and
  5. Purchasing marijuana or marijuana products from a marijuana product manufacturing facility.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the following acts, when performed by a marijuana testing facility with a current, valid registration, or a person 21 years of age or 9 older who is acting in his or her capacity as an owner, employee, or agent of a marijuana testing facility, are not unlawful and shall not be an offense under South Dakota law or be a basis for seizure or forfeiture of assets under South Dakota law:

  1. Possessing, cultivating, processing, repackaging, storing, transporting, or displaying marijuana or marijuana products;
  2. Receiving marijuana or marijuana products from a marijuana establishment or a person 21 years of age or older;
  3. Returning marijuana or marijuana products to a marijuana establishment, or a person 21 years of age or older; and

Nothing in this section prevents the imposition of penalties for violating this chapter or rules adopted by the department or localities pursuant to this chapter.

Section 11. Verifying the age of marijuana consumers.

A marijuana establishment or an agent or staffer of a marijuana establishment may not sell, deliver, give, transfer, or otherwise furnish marijuana a person under the age of 21.

Except as otherwise provided this section, in a prosecution for selling, transferring, delivering, giving, or otherwise furnishing marijuana, marijuana products, or marijuana paraphernalia to any person who is under 21 years of age, it is a complete defense if:

  1. The person who sold, gave, or otherwise furnished marijuana, marijuana products, or marijuana paraphernalia was a retailer or was acting in his or her capacity as an owner, employee, or agent of a retailer at the time the marijuana, marijuana products, or marijuana paraphernalia was sold, given, or otherwise furnished to the person; and
  2. Before selling, giving, or otherwise furnishing marijuana, marijuana products, or marijuana paraphernalia to a person who is under 21 years of age, the person who sold, gave, or otherwise furnished the marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia, or a staffer or agent of the retailer, was shown a document which appeared to be issued by an agency of a federal, state, tribal, or foreign sovereign government and which indicated that the person to whom the marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia was sold, given, or otherwise furnished was 21 years of age or older at the time the marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia was sold, given, or otherwise furnished to the person.
  3. The complete defense set forth this section does not apply if:
    1. The document which was shown to the person who sold, gave, or otherwise furnished the marijuana, marijuana products, or marijuana paraphernalia was counterfeit, forged, altered, or issued to a person other than the person to whom the marijuana, marijuana products or marijuana paraphernalia was sold, given, or otherwise furnished; and
    2. Under the circumstances, a reasonable person would have known or suspected that the document was counterfeit, forged, altered, or issued to a person other than the person to whom the marijuana, marijuana products, or marijuana paraphernalia was sold, given, or otherwise furnished.

Section 12. Rulemaking.

Not later than 180 days after the effective date of this act, the department shall adopt regulations necessary for implementation of this chapter. Such regulations shall not prohibit the operation of marijuana establishments, either expressly or through regulations that make their operation unreasonably impracticable. Such regulations shall include:

  1. Procedures for the issuance, renewal, suspension, and revocation of a registration to operate a marijuana establishment, with such procedures subject to all requirements of the [state administrative procedure act];
  2. A schedule of application, registration, and renewal fees, provided, application fees shall not exceed $5,000, with this upper limit adjusted annually for inflation, unless the department determines a greater fee is necessary to carry out its responsibilities under this chapter;
  3. Qualifications for registration that are directly and demonstrably related to the operation of a marijuana establishment;
  4. Security requirements including lighting, physical security, video, and alarm requirements;
  5. Requirements for the transportation and storage of marijuana and marijuana products by marijuana establishments;
  6. Employment and training requirements, including requiring that each marijuana establishment create an identification badge for each employee or agent;
  7. Requirements designed to prevent the sale or diversion of marijuana and marijuana products to persons under the age of 21;
  8. Standards for marijuana product manufacturers to determine the amount of marijuana that marijuana products are considered the equivalent to;
  9. Requirements for marijuana and marijuana products sold or distributed by a marijuana establishment, including requiring marijuana products’ labels to include the following:
    1. The length of time it typically takes for a product to take effect;
    2. The amount of marijuana the product is considered the equivalent to;
    3. Disclosing ingredients and possible allergens;
    4. A nutritional fact panel;
    5. Requiring opaque, child resistant packaging, which must be designed or constructed to be significantly difficult for children under five years of age to open and not difficult for normal adults to use properly as defined by 16 C.F.R. 1700.20 (1995); and
    6. Requiring that edible marijuana products be clearly identifiable, when practicable, with a standard symbol indicating that it contains marijuana;
  10. Health and safety regulations and standards for the manufacture of marijuana products and both the indoor and outdoor cultivation of marijuana by marijuana establishments;
  11. Restrictions on advertising, marketing, and signage including but not limited to a prohibition on mass-market campaigns that have a high likelihood of reaching minors;
  12. Restrictions on the display of marijuana and marijuana products, including to ensure that marijuana and marijuana products may not be displayed in a manner that is visible to the general public from a public right-of-way;
  13. Restrictions or prohibitions on additives to marijuana and marijuana-infused products, including but not limited to those that are toxic, designed to make the product more addictive, designed to make the product more appealing to children, or misleading to consumers; the prohibition may not extend to common baking and cooking items;
  14. Restrictions on the use of pesticides that are injurious to human health;
  15. Regulations governing visits to cultivation facilities and product manufacturers, including requiring the marijuana establishment to log visitors;
  16. A definition of the amount of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol that constitutes a single serving in a marijuana product;
  17. Standards for the safe manufacture of marijuana extracts and concentrates;
  18. Requirements that educational materials be disseminated to consumers who purchase marijuana-infused products;
  19. Requirements for random sample testing to ensure quality control, including by ensuring that marijuana and marijuana infused products are accurately labeled for potency. The testing analysis must include testing for residual solvents, poisons, or toxins; harmful chemicals; dangerous molds or mildew; filth; and harmful microbial such as E. Coli or salmonella and pesticides;
  20. Standards for the operation of testing laboratories, including requirements for equipment and qualifications for personnel;
  21. Civil penalties for the failure to comply with regulations made pursuant to this chapter; and
  22. Procedures for collecting taxes levied on marijuana cultivation facilities.

In order to ensure that individual privacy is protected, the department shall not require a consumer to provide a retail marijuana store with personal information other than government issued identification to determine the consumer’s age, and a retail marijuana store shall not be required to acquire and record personal information about consumers.

Section 13. Marijuana establishment registrations.

  1. Each application or renewal application for an annual registration to operate a marijuana establishment shall be submitted to the department. A renewal application may be submitted up to 90 days prior to the expiration of the marijuana establishment’s registration
  2. The department shall begin accepting and processing applications to operate marijuana establishments 180 days after the effective date of this act.
  3. Upon receiving an application or renewal application for a marijuana establishment, the department shall immediately forward a copy of each application and half of the registration application fee to the local regulatory authority for the locality in which the applicant desires to operate the marijuana establishment, unless the locality has not designated a local regulatory authority.
  4. Within 45 to 90 days after receiving an application or renewal application, the department shall issue an annual registration to the applicant, unless the department finds the applicant is not in compliance with regulations enacted pursuant to Section 12 or the department is notified by the relevant locality that the applicant is not in compliance with ordinances and regulations made pursuant to Section 14 and in effect at the time of application.
  5. If a locality has enacted a numerical limit on the number of marijuana establishments and a greater number of applicants seek registrations, the department shall solicit and consider input from the local regulatory authority as to the locality’s preference or preferences for registration.
  6. Upon denial of an application, the department shall notify the applicant in writing of the specific reason for its denial.
  7. Every marijuana establishment registration shall specify the location where the marijuana establishment will operate. A separate registration shall be required for each location at which a marijuana establishment operates.
  8. Marijuana establishments and the books and records maintained and created by marijuana establishments are subject to inspection by the department.
  9. South Dakota Native American Tribes are exempt from the registration requirements as being a sovereign nation their laws will supersede any state regulations.

Section 14. Local control.

  1. A locality may prohibit the operation of marijuana cultivation facilities, marijuana product manufacturing facilities, marijuana testing facilities, or retail marijuana store through an initiated or referred measure, provided, any initiated or referred measure to prohibit the operation of marijuana cultivation facilities, marijuana product manufacturing facilities, marijuana testing facilities, or retail marijuana stores must appear on a general election ballot.
  2. A locality may enact ordinances or regulations not in conflict with this chapter, or with regulations enacted pursuant to this chapter, governing the time, place, manner, and number of marijuana establishment operations. A locality may establish civil penalties for violation of an ordinance or regulations governing the time, place, and manner of a marijuana establishment that may operate in such locality.
  3. A locality may designate a local regulatory authority that is responsible for processing applications submitted for a registration to operate a marijuana establishment within the boundaries of the locality.
  4. A locality may establish procedures for the issuance, suspension, and revocation of a registration issued by the locality in accordance with this section.
  5. A locality may establish a schedule of annual operating and registration fees for marijuana establishments.

Section 15. Places of employment.

Nothing in this chapter is intended to require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale, or growing of marijuana in the workplace or to affect the ability of employers to have policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees or discipline employees who are under the influence of marijuana in the workplace.

Section 16. Driving under the influence prohibited.

Nothing in this chapter is intended to allow driving under the influence of marijuana or driving while impaired by marijuana or to supersede laws related to driving under the influence of marijuana or driving while impaired by marijuana.

Section 17. Minors.

Nothing in this chapter is intended to permit the transfer of marijuana, with or without remuneration, to a person under the age of 21 or to allow a person under the age of 21 to purchase, possess, use, transport, grow, or consume marijuana.

Section 18. Private property rights.

Except as provided in this section, the provisions of this chapter do not require any person, corporation, or any other entity that occupies, owns, or controls a property to allow the consumption, cultivation, display, sale, or transfer of marijuana on or in that property.

In the case of the rental of a residential dwelling, a landlord may not prohibit the possession of marijuana or the consumption of marijuana by non-smoked means unless:

  1. The tenant is a roomer who is not leasing the entire residential dwelling;
  2. The residence is incidental to detention or the provision of medical, geriatric, educational, counseling, religious, or similar service;
  3. The residence is a transitional housing facility; or
  4. Failing to prohibit marijuana possession or consumption would violate federal law or regulations or cause the landlord to lose a monetary or licensing-related benefit under federal law or regulations.

Section 19. Contracts enforceable.

It is the public policy of this state that contracts related to the operation of a marijuana establishment registered pursuant to this chapter should be enforceable. It is the public policy of this state that no contract entered into by a registered marijuana establishment or its employees or agents as permitted pursuant to a valid registration, or by those who allow property to be used by a establishment, its employees, or its agents as permitted pursuant to a valid registration, shall be unenforceable on the basis that cultivating, obtaining, manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, transporting, selling, possessing, or using marijuana or hemp is prohibited by federal law.

Section 20. Marijuana Regulation Fund.

The Marijuana Regulation Fund is established consisting of fees collected and civil penalties imposed under this chapter. The department shall administer the fund. Monies in the fund are continuously appropriated.

Section 21. Excise tax on marijuana.

An excise tax is imposed on the sale or transfer of marijuana from a marijuana cultivation facility to a retail marijuana store, a marijuana lounge, or marijuana product manufacturing facility at the rate of:

  1. $50 per ounce on all marijuana flowers;
  2. $15 per ounce on all part of marijuana other than marijuana flowers and immature marijuana plants; and
  3. $25 per immature marijuana plant.

The rates of tax imposed by this section apply proportionately to quantities of less than one ounce. The department shall adjust the rates annually to account for inflation or deflation based on the Consumer Price Index. 17

On the 15th day of each month, every marijuana cultivation facility shall pay the excise taxes due on the marijuana that the marijuana cultivation facility transferred or sold in the prior calendar month.

Section 22. Apportionment of revenue. Revenues generated in excess of the amount needed to implement and enforce this act by the marijuana excise tax shall be distributed every three months as follows:

  1. Forty percent shall be distributed to the South Department of Education to retain and recruit educators. Five percent of the forty percent is to be set aside into an account to provide supplies and aid to all classrooms in South Dakota; including but not limited to classroom supplies, A/V equipment, computers, field trips and unpaid nutrition accounts.
  2. Ten percent shall be distributed to the South Dakota Department of Health for use in evidence-based, voluntary programs for the prevention or treatment of alcohol, tobacco, heroin, methamphetamine, prescription drugs, and marijuana abuse;
  3. Ten percent shall be distributed to the South Dakota Department of Health for a scientifically and medically accurate public education campaign educating youth and adults about the health and safety risks of alcohol, tobacco, heroin, methamphetamine, prescription drug and marijuana;
  4. Thirty percent shall be distributed to the General Fund;
  5. Ten Percent shall be distributed to South Dakota Law Enforcement for training, detection dogs, equipment and educational programs to aid in youth diversion.

Section 23. Self-executing, severability, conflicting provisions. All provisions of this chapter are severable, and, except where otherwise indicated in the text, shall supersede conflicting statutes, local charter, ordinance, or resolution, and other state and local provisions.

Section 24. Effective date.

This Act shall take effect immediately upon passage.

Section 25. Commutation of non violent cannabis offenders.

No later then 180 days of passage prisoners in the SD State Prisons, County jails and those waiting to be sentenced will have their cases reviewed and sentences commuted if they meet criteria.

  1. Conviction/Charges must be of a non violent nature.
  2. Conviction/Charges must be for cannabis only.

Section 26: South Dakota Native American Tribal Cannabis Laws

Native American tribes in South Dakota are not required to participate in legalization laws passed by the state of SD. Tribes may continue to remain non-legal for cannabis use unless they through their own voting process legalize cannabis for medicinal or recreational purposes. Native American Tribes are not required to participate in the state registration program or the state tax structure. All taxes collected by tribal cannabis sales are to be used for reservation improvement of infrastructure, housing and education.


86 Responses to New Approach Offers Draft Legislation to Legalize (and Tax!) Recreational Marijuana

  1. Another tremendously long blogging, Mr. H. I could not keep my focus for reading that long of a blogging. So I came away with “The demon weed is bad, it is bad.”

    It would help on these massively long bloggings if you could write a summary at the top. Try to summarize your thoughts in 4 or 5 sentences. Give the reader a taste of where you are going, then dive into the weeds and go all research nerd debater down in the bowels of the idea.

    That is what the media does, except when they used to issue special copies of the paper with a section on the funnies or whatnot.

  2. I wrote ten sentences. The rest is the proposed initiative, for the record. Deal with it.

  3. Barry Muxen

    Cory,
    Even though you are an atheist, I say Amen.
    Barry Muxen

  4. mike from iowa

    grudzcan but willie?

  5. Porter Lansing

    Grudznick is symptomatic of the conservative cry babies who won’t read an initiative and then claim no one understood it, when it passes. Those who rely on others to tell them what it says are those who vote Republican only because they’re lazy and so were their parents and grandparents. Psychologists say it’s 75% easier (lazier) to just vote no than to think of a way to solve a problem.

  6. If Mentele was smart she’d wait till 2020 for all of these.

  7. Porter Lansing

    Ms. Mentele is very smart. A very warm and kind person, also. Marijuana acceptance takes many elections. Dedication eventually wins out, for the group that sticks with it. It took at least six elections in Colorado to pass recreational. Truth is that until conservative Republicans voted for legal weed it only got close to passage. Marijuana is truly a bipartisan issue with different rationale from each political viewpoint.

  8. Robert McTaggart

    The fault about the length is not Cory’s, grudznick…it is the proposal itself.

    More liquor licenses, more gambling, and more recreational marijuana will not make our society better. As if putting some of these funds toward education, infrastructure, or housing make them honorable.

  9. Douglas Wiken

    Both alcohol and pot should require buyer’s licenses as well as seller licenses. Both alcohol containers and pot containers should have permanent stamps indicating both buyer’s and sellers names and license numbers.

  10. Robert McTaggart

    These three only hide the true societal issues instead of dealing with them, and they also serve to make said issues more difficult to solve.

  11. I am curious as to improvements in police relations with the legalization of marijuana. It seems to me that fewer police/citizen interactions would be beneficial to all American, especially minorities, but I’ve not seen any stories or studies on the subject from states that have legalized. Porter – any info on this?

  12. Porter Lansing

    Are alcohol, gambling, marijuana, television, sports, dancing, sailing, shopping, video games or social media supposed to make society better or are they activities that occupy one’s spare time pleasantly? If you believe it’s the latter then “to each his/her own”. Leave judging to the courts.

  13. Porter Lansing

    As the Drug Enforcement Administration notes, nobody has ever died of a marijuana overdose. But aggressive enforcement of drug laws has led to some deaths. Growing efforts to decriminalize or legalize marijuana in part seek to reduce these kinds of police encounters that can turn fatal.
    Places that have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana treat offenses essentially like parking tickets. Data shows that decriminalization typically leads to drastic reductions in the number of marijuana-related arrests. For instance, the month after the New York City Police Department announced it would treat low-level drug possession as a noncriminal violation instead of a misdemeanor, arrests plummeted 75 percent year over year, according to the Associated Press.
    http://www.denverpost.com/2016/09/29/marijuana-deadly-encountering-police/

  14. Neal, why wait until 2020? What factors do you foresee changing between 2018 and 2020?

  15. Robert McTaggart

    Porter,

    Don’t buy into the myth that marijuana does no harm. How about impaired driving? How about affecting the development of young brains?

    Forget the seniors….they had their chance for a good time….let’s run up the government tab on the aftermath of gambling, heavy drinking, and marijuana instead. Let’s also skip health care for everybody so we can keep paying for things we shouldn’t have to, particularly if they can be avoided.

  16. I apologize, Mr. H. I am dealing with it. Dr. McTaggart pointed out that you just cut and pasted most of the blogging. I am sorry for deriding you and actually now notice that you did write a nice summary. A fine summary indeed.

  17. Porter Lansing

    Prof. McTaggart … I respect your opinion. I’ve given mine and will now defer to the wishes of our moderator who asked us repeatedly to not dwell on the subject. I’ll wager not one reader of this blog has no opinion on the issue thus there’s no reason for lengthy discussion, which has a history of leading nowhere.

  18. Robert McTaggart

    True that.

    But I’d rather have more dancing and video games instead.

  19. bearcreekbat

    Prof. McTaggart, it almost sounds as if you take one of two positions or perhaps both:

    (1) Things that might do harm to a person should be outlawed rather than regulated; and/or

    (2) State government should not be funded by taxing something that might do harm to a person.

    Realistically, I think you might agree that it seems both impossible and unreasonable to criminalize everything that harms people. So we have to draw the line somewhere. Indeed we even allow people to purchase items that can kill them, so mere death doesn’t seem to be the key factor. And we permit people to purchase items that if used improperly will impair their driving, so that doesn’t seem to the the key factor. Can you identify the unique characteristics of marijuana that make it worse than items that can impair driving skills or kill us, such that we should continue to treat growers, sellers and users of marijuana as criminals?

    One other question. Historically, marijuana prohibition has been the law throughout the nation for about 80 years with the apparent goal of eradicating or discouraging marijuana use by jailing and fining growers, sellers and users. Yet today people use marijuana as much or more than ever before.

    It may have been Einstein who was credited with saying, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” What is your most accurate argument for continuing to mandate people using marijuana be treated as criminals?

  20. Robert McTaggart

    Can’t find where I say anything about criminalization up above…

    I think my point is that if we are discussing revenues for the government or wanting new economic development…which is important for reducing the debt or developing pro-growth policies…that resorting to more liquor licenses, more gambling, and more recreational drugs is not the way to go.

    Those are all counterproductive.

    Can we or should we criminalize everything? No. Can we promote a better path? Most definitely.

  21. Douglas Wiken

    I am not advocating user and seller licenses be toughened and made useful in order to raise revenue, but rather to sensibly regulate the use of these mostly unnecessary and harmful products. The current systems are not working. Drunks still kill dozens on highways in SD. Teenagers get booze and get themselves killed in crashes. Putting pot users in prison is a very expensive process that does little more than provide salaries for courts and prisons.

  22. Robert McTaggart

    If you want to tax certain items, great..maybe higher prices will force fewer people to choose them. But they can be too volatile to be foundational budget sources of revenue.

    Aside:
    That is a great quote by Einstein :^). He also said that God does not play dice with the universe, and then ironically contributed to fields of study that supported quantum mechanics…which helps play dice with the universe.

  23. Robert McTaggart

    Yes, treatment for substance abuse and ending self-destructive cycles are worthwhile and would save on prison costs.

  24. Doc-most docs recognize substance abuse is not really self destructive behavior, but rather an illness. get rid of the stigma. fix the problem. medical care for ALL.

  25. McTaggart, criminal prohibition does nothing to decrease the demand for marijuana. All of that commerce is going to occur one way or another. It’s much better for society as a whole for it to be above board in a regulated market, rather than underground in the black market.

  26. CAH, a couple of reasons why this is more likely to pass in 2020. First, turnout in general, and especially for young people, will be low in a midterm election. If young people don’t vote, this doesn’t pass.

    Which leads to reason number two, demographic changes. Young people overwhelmingly support ending the criminal prohibition of marijuana. Old people, not so much. As old people die, they are replaced by young people with different views. Every day the % of Americans who support this issue grows, and there’s no going back.

    Third, the opportunity for more data. As more and more states legalize there’s more and more information and numbers to support legalization. And as with all things, it will come down to money. States will come to understand how much tax revenue they’re missing out on. And how much they are wasting on the folly of criminal prohibition of a vegetable.

  27. On harm and myth, New Approach’s proposal doesn’t appear to buy into any myths of harmlessness for drivers and kids. The initiative takes the same route as alcohol laws: not pot for drivers, not pot for kids. The DUI penalties in this first draft aren’t as strict as the penalties for drunk driving; we’ll see if that remains the case in the final draft.

  28. Reasonable assessment, Neal. On the other side, New Approach has a cadre of volunteers still fired up from their recent petition and court battle. I also hear they had 60 people show up at their Saturday meetings in Sioux Falls, 40 of them new to the organization. Maybe New Approach can overcome the voter-turnout tradition and get young people to realize that it is arguably even more important that they show up for the mid-term elections, which are when we elect our statewide offices and when they could have even more influence in passing an initiative (if turnout is lower across the board, then every vote counts even more).

  29. Robert McTaggart

    Neal, if you want to say that those that pick up a drug habit got more than they bargained for and need help, I agree. Let’s not forget those pathways for prescription medicine abuse as well.

    Ironically the best use of the taxes and fees from the use of marijuana is the education of people to avoid it and to treat those who have used it. The issues are more expensive to deal with once the habit has taken hold.

    So yeah, there would be some more tax money coming in (that is debatable), but granting official permission would lead to a lot more money going out.

  30. Robert McTaggart

    Leslie,

    What some do in order to pay for their substance abuse is self-destructive.

  31. Robert McTaggart

    Are long-term costs of use and abuse addressed in the fee structure that is proposed in this legislation? Neal says there is lots of data now…so a risk-based calculation for the fee structure should be possible.

  32. bearcreekbat

    “Can’t find where I say anything about criminalization up above…”

    Criminalization of the growing, selling, possessing and using marijuana is the status quo that the initiative is attempting to change. I understood your comments about the “myth” of harmlessness to be an argument opposing the initiative measure in favor of retaining the status quo. Your subsequent comments seem to go the other way. What is your position – support the initiative or or keep the status quo?

  33. Robert McTaggart

    I am against the idea that marijuana use is completely harmless, and that using taxes from its use for beneficial purposes makes it OK. I don’t believe that marijuana taxes are a windfall or panacea for our long-term or short-term budgetary issues.

    I favor education and treatment over criminalization, but I doubt proponents are likely to agree to a plan that slowly erodes the marijuana marketplace via education and treatment. Nor a plan that requires users to pay for its true costs.

  34. bearcreekbat

    So you disagree with our current laws that criminalize marijuana users but oppose this effort to change our current laws and decriminalize marijuana users?

    If your goals are education and treatment instead of criminalization how would you propose changing the initiative to best meet these goals, namely, decriminalize, educate and provide treatment?

  35. bearcreekbat

    And I am not sure who is asserting “that marijuana use is completely harmless.” I think the point is that compared to most other substances, all of which have the potential to cause harm, marijuana is “relatively” harmless. For example Pew Research reports:

    By wide margins, the public views marijuana as less harmful than alcohol, both to personal health and to society more generally.

    http://www.people-press.org/2014/04/02/americas-new-drug-policy-landscape/

    What is your perspective on the relative harmlessness of marijuana compared to other legal substances, such as alcohol or cigarettes, or prescription medications, or sugar or processed meats, etc?

  36. In addition to the revenue raised through taxation, the state would save a great deal of money if they no longer had to fight this battle that will never be won. Marijuana prohibition introduces otherwise innocent and non-violent people to the criminal justice system and utilizes law enforcement and penal resources to a degree way beyond reasonableness in comparison to the “benefit” provided to the public. It boggles my mind how loud and confident many marijuana opponents are regarding the harm it causes to society, directly in contrast with most actual, empirical evidence. I think it is sad how some people are so set in their opinion that marijuana is evil that they ignore the reality of its effects on 99% of users. We live in a society where a ridiculously high percentage of adults are on prescription drugs or are moderate or high level drinkers, and yet many of those people still stand on a pedestal to tell people who enjoy marijuana that it is dangerous and that drugs are bad. And yes, prescription drugs require a doctor’s recommendation, but people who act like that means a whole lot are naive. I have personally seen friends and family members, time and again, who are prescribed powerful and expensive drugs with little more than a cursory examination or conversation. One pill gives you side effects that you mitigate by taking three other pills, all of which may kill a few people here and there. Prescription drug abuse in adults and minors is a much more real concern for our society than people smoking marijuana to take the edge off of life. I’m willing to guess that many people who hoot and holler about the dangers of the devil weed wouldn’t be willing to give up their prescription pain killers or their case of miller lite just because somebody else thought they shouldn’t have it. Let’s move past this already – it’s a plant for goodness sake. They tiny fraction of users who cause problems would cause problems with anything they are doing. Every walk of life has people who ruin things for the rest of us. Should we go back to prohibition just because some stupid person got drunk and drove and hurt somebody? No. Should we outlaw prescription medication because some people sell pills to kids on the internet? No. Should we let responsible, non-violent, tax paying adults decide what they do with their free time and money? Yes.

  37. McTaggart, nothing — not criminal prohibition, education, or treatment — will “erode the marijuana marketplace.” The only question is whether that marketplace be regulated and taxed, or not.

    No credible person thinks marijuana is completely harmless. But whatever harm there might be pales in comparison to the social and personal harm that comes from alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs. Every one of those substances is more harmful than marijuana, by orders of magnitude. Hell, even sugar is more harmful than marijuana.

  38. Robert McTaggart

    You would agree that not using marijuana or other drugs would avoid those criminalization issues altogether?

    We all know we should be reducing those other items, but individuals make a choice and those costs are largely addressed via insurance. Smokers pay more for insurance than non-smokers. Those with a DUI pay more for car insurance.

    How does marijuana taxation make sure those costs are paid for? I am open to discussing similar issues for alcohol and smoking.

    Also, I can largely control my intake of different things, but when one person smokes in a room (cigarettes or marijuana), everybody is smoking in that room. Impaired driving kills people, and I can’t keep them from driving. But if the means of impairment are reduced, deaths are reduced.

  39. “How does marijuana taxation make sure those costs are paid for?”

    Through a regulatory scheme that diverts tax revenues to law enforcement, treatment, and education.

  40. bearcreekbat

    “You would agree that not using marijuana or other drugs would avoid those criminalization issues altogether?”

    No, this statement is non-sensical and does nothing to avoid the criminalization issue. Criminalization is a status conferred upon people by society’s laws, it is not a status created by conduct. I think you would agree with the simple fact that no human conduct is criminal until society makes it criminal by passing laws prohibiting that conduct.

    It also seems like you are not willing to answer the questions I posited to you about the relative harm you think marijuana causes compared to the lawful substances I listed, which suggests that you are unable to formulate an answer that you find valid, persuasive or even rational to support the continued policy of prohibition with criminal sanctions.

  41. Robert McTaggart

    I answered your questions, but you weren’t satisfied with my answers. Another thing I cannot control is the level of your personal satisfaction ;^).

    If you don’t use marijuana, you cannot be in violation of any marijuana laws. I don’t know why that is complicated, but I agree that proponents will not choose that option.

    There are a couple of exceptions to said violations I suppose. You could be a non-user involved with transport or finance that is prohibited under federal law but not state law.

    You seek to establish an equivalence of alcohol use with marijuana use, and say that if alcohol is OK, then marijuana must there be OK. However, just because one is bad and others allow it, doesn’t mean I should support another bad thing on top of that.

    At some point you have to stop digging an even deeper hole.

  42. Robert McTaggart

    bearcreekbat,

    I think you have convinced me that we need to get our ducks in a row with regard to alcohol and tobacco before moving on to consider something else like marijuana.

  43. Robert, actually, aren’t the proponents agreeing to a plan that erodes the pot marketplace via education and treatment? Check out Section 22: 10% of the money goes for addiction treatment, 10% goes for Department of Health to discourage drug use, and 10% goes to law enforcement for “training, detection dogs, equipment and educational programs to aid in youth diversion.” That’s far from the lion’s share of the money, but it’s some.

    I agree that our seemingly disparate treatment, without a rigorous analysis of harms, of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana is problematic. But remember, I would have preferred to put Bob Newland’s measures on the ballot to criminalize transfer of alcohol and tobacco. ;-)

  44. Robert McTaggart

    It’s one thing to say 30% goes to areas that check off the responsibility box to aid in electoral success. It’s another to say that 30% of the taxation assessed will be enough to actually drive down drug use and related societal and health care costs (including prison costs).

    I don’t think anybody really knows to be honest, but perhaps there are various metrics associated with drug use that can be measured…if those can be agreed upon.

    If those metrics for drug use increase, then so does the total amount assessed. Then education and treatment and law enforcement will get more until they achieve the desired levels (also agreed upon in advance). If not, then the costs become prohibitive and that will help drive down usage.

  45. bearcreekbat

    Prof McTaggart, I’ll admit to being pretty dense, but I looked back and cannot find where your comments answered most of my questions. Here are those question copied and pasted from my earlier comments:

    Can you identify the unique characteristics of marijuana that make it worse than items that can impair driving skills or kill us, such that we should continue to treat growers, sellers and users of marijuana as criminals?

    What is your most accurate argument for continuing to mandate people using marijuana be treated as criminals?

    No direct answers, although perhaps you implied it is not worse by your suggestion that marijuana use might not be an appropriate basis to charge someone with a crime. I sought clarification.

    So you disagree with our current laws that criminalize marijuana users but oppose this effort to change our current laws and decriminalize marijuana users?

    No direct answer.

    What is your position – support the initiative or keep the status quo?

    Again, no direct answer, but you mentioned “education and treatment.” So I asked:

    If your goals are education and treatment instead of criminalization how would you propose changing the initiative to best meet these goals, namely, decriminalize, educate and provide treatment?

    No direct answer.

    What is your perspective on the relative harmlessness of marijuana compared to other legal substances, such as alcohol or cigarettes, or prescription medications, or sugar or processed meats, etc?

    No direct answer.

    If you have a desire to address these issues in a more straight forward manner, I would love to discuss them with you in more detail. But if you are a person who opposes legalization and is unwilling to address the hard truths that appear to undermine arguments against legalization, I’ll stop asking you questions and stop trying to engage you on this topic. Peace.

  46. Robert McTaggart

    I do not support the initiative, but that does not mean I like the status quo either. That is your box you are trying to put me into.

  47. bearcreekbat

    Is someone advocating that impaired drivers (whatever has caused that impairment) should be permitted to drive?

  48. Robert McTaggart

    Do you mean am I advocating that?

  49. Robert McTaggart

    “Fatal crashes involving drivers who recently used marijuana doubled in Washington after the state legalized the drug. Washington was one of the first two states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, and these findings serve as an eye-opening case study for what other states may experience with road safety after legalizing the drug.”

  50. bearcreekbat

    That helps and I apologize if it seemed like I was trying to put you in some sort of box. Indeed, if I was trying to put you in a box why would I ask:

    If your goals are education and treatment instead of criminalization how would you propose changing the initiative to best meet these goals, namely, decriminalize, educate and provide treatment?

    And if you are willing, I am still interested in your thoughts how to improve the initiative with these objectives in mind.

  51. Robert McTaggart

    OK,

    Like I said to Cory, the monies going to education, treatment, and law enforcement should actually reduce drug use and other associated metrics. Agree on those metrics ahead of time. Maybe elimination is not politically achievable, but improvement is.

    The monies dedicated to those three areas should increase until those targets are met. I guess one could also keep the tax amount the same but change the percentage as well until you get to 100%.

  52. Robert McTaggart

    I would also like to know if the measure will reduce costs of government compared to not having the measure.

    The problem is that long-term unintended costs have a way of squeezing out things that we really need, like teachers.

  53. bearcreekbat

    I agree that driving a car while impaired should remain a crime, but what does that have to do with marijuana legalization? People smoke marijuana whether it is legal or illegal and some of those people will drive impaired.

    The Washington story about impaired rivers may be statistically true, but what does this actually mean? What evidence would a scientist look for before concluding that legalization was the “cause” of more drivers impaired by marijuana? How would you rule out correlation? Is there any evidence that the drivers in Washington only started smoking marijuana because it was legalized? Have Oregon, Colorado, California, Alaska, Colorado, and Washington D.C. had similar statistical changes after legalization? How about the states that legalized medical marijuana – any similar results?

  54. Robert McTaggart

    For example, if people can use marijuana and traffic deaths involving drivers with THC levels could be reduced, that probably would satisfy one of the metrics.

  55. Robert McTaggart

    Legalized marijuana is more likely to have restricted levels of THC. Those purchasing legal marijuana will have the paperwork/receipts. You should be able to tell the difference in the numbers.

  56. Robert McTaggart

    But you raise a good point. South Dakota would be smart to figure out how to know whether the measure could work properly given data from the other states.

  57. Robert McTaggart

    And if non-legal marijuana is found in a legal search, then taxes and fees should increase accordingly.

  58. bearcreekbat

    Prof McTaggart, your ideas for improving the initiative make sense to me. And although I agree that elimination is not feasible, I can also anticipate changes similar to what we have seen with tobacco and cigarettes. Education and stop smoking treatment (funded I speculate by tobacco taxes) have reduced the percentage of smokers to an all time low, including minors.

    https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/tables/trends/cig_smoking/

    It seems reasonable to predict that legalization and regulation of marijuana would allow funding of education and treatment similar to what we did to reduce tobacco use, and that the results would be quite similar.

    With the addition of such language would you then support the initiative?

  59. Robert McTaggart

    Devil is in the details of course, but I would be less likely to oppose it. But I’m not going to go out and campaign for the initiative if that is what you mean ;^).

    It is the impact on others (either directly via traffic accidents or indirectly via unintended and uncovered health care costs, second-hand smoke, etc.) that I most oppose.

    But I think the other problem you will face is that THC restrictions in one state will be different from another. Not sure if a Trump Administration will approve of any federal regulations, so the states would need to agree on their own.

  60. bearcreekbat

    Prof McTaggert, Indeed, the devil is always in the details, but the goals of decriminalization, education, and treatment opportunities make it well worth sorting out these details.

    Thanks for the interesting discussion!

  61. Robert McTaggart

    It is unfortunate that nobody can take a half a loaf and be fine with it any more…but sorting through the details to get a good half-loaf will be OK. The metric-based plan is one way to do that.

    Much like all of the consent-based siting stuff for nuclear activities…you have to wind up at a place that even the opponents will not oppose it. Unopposition is the best we can do today (think I just made up a new word).

  62. Robert—reducing costs of government? We should get some of that analysis from LRC when it issues its prison cost estimate on the initiative.

    On effective anti-drug education, my Harold Weir/Nancy Reagan approach, as practiced in the original DARE program, has been widely proven to be ineffective. Oops.

    Our friends at Public Safety Canada offer this guidance:

    Often it is the case that a strategy can best be understood by illustrating the flipside namely, what doesn’t work (or doesn’t work so well). For example, theses programs are largely ineffective for reducing substance use:

    • Information dissemination programs which teach primarily about drugs and their effects;
    • Fear arousal programs that emphasize risks associated with drug use;
    • Moral appeal programs that teach about the evils of use and;
    • Affective education programs which focus on building self-esteem, responsible decision-making, and interpersonal growth.

     
    On the contrary, approaches which include resistance-skills training to teach students about social influences to engage in substance use and specific skills for effectively resisting these pressures alone or in combination with broader-based life-skills training do appear to reduce substance use [Public Safety Canada, “School-Based Drug Abuse Prevention: Promising and Successful Programs,” last modified 2016.01.19].

    Notice that the proposed initiative does not specify what sort of anti-drug education programs the state should fund, other than directing the Department of Health to use “scientifically and medically accurate” education programs.

  63. Robert McTaggart

    I would replace “funding anti-drug education programs” with “funding education programs that are correlated with reductions in drug use” and/or other metrics that opponents and proponents can agree upon.

    The goal should be that these things work (O Canada!).

  64. Rob McTaggart, please check the validity of your links. One link about driving and marijuana poorly explained its weak conclusions then ends with this sentence…
    ” However, a large case-control study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found no significant increased crash risk attributable to cannabis after controlling for drivers’ age, gender, race, and presence of alcohol.”

    So is it bad or not??? I think the research has not been effectively fully completed to make definitive statement either way.

    I think there is some bias in the conclusions of results of this link. Be careful not to read and trust titles of studies.

  65. Bad or not, Craig?

    NHTSA also offers this assessment of cannabis’s effect on driving:

    Epidemiology data from road traffic arrests and fatalities indicate that after alcohol, marijuana is the most frequently detected psychoactive substance among driving populations. Marijuana has been shown to impair performance on driving simulator tasks and on open and closed driving courses for up to approximately 3 hours. Decreased car handling performance, increased reaction times, impaired time and distance estimation, inability to maintain headway, lateral travel, subjective sleepiness, motor incoordination, and impaired sustained vigilance have all been reported. Some drivers may actually be able to improve performance for brief periods by overcompensating for self-perceived impairment. The greater the demands placed on the driver, however, the more critical the likely impairment. Marijuana may particularly impair monotonous and prolonged driving. Decision times to evaluate situations and determine appropriate responses increase. Mixing alcohol and marijuana may dramatically produce effects greater than either drug on its own.

    Operating machinery of any sort while high seems unwise. A legalization bill that did not preserve DUI penalties would not and should not pass. DUI is at least as problematic as public intoxication. We prohibit both because intoxication is a victimless crime only as long as it doesn’t affect anyone else.

  66. Bill Dithmer

    While all that money in the state coffers sounds nice, it wont happen that way. What could have been a great idea four years ago is now an also ran moment.

    South Dakota at one time had the oppertunity to make that kind of money but not now. What was big for Colorado when it passed insured that Co would make money for years because of the recreational opportunities in the state. They took the leap and are enjoying prosperity because of that. Sout Dakota has less people living here pluss it doesnt have the entertainment for the big draw.

    Im all for legalization, but dont give the wrong idea about monies to be made. And dont compare SD to any other stat that has legalized, because there is no way to compare blue apples and red oranges.

    The Blindman

  67. barry freed

    Some here have not done any research beyond the propaganda we see on TV, but they seem to have lot to say. Of course the Government does not dictate these messages, but if the Networks create story lines or PSA’s that are anti-drug, they are well rewarded by the Government. i.e. our taxes.

    http://www.salon.com/2000/01/13/drugs_6/

  68. Robert McTaggart

    CraigSK,

    Are you in the camp of increasing the amount of marijuana and/or THC that drivers have in their system? While driving at 80 mph on the highway? Because it will not impair driving?

  69. barry freed

    Gawd Cory.

    “Arrest and Fatalities”. Measurable MJ stays in a system for a month. Only THE willfully ignorant or someone who jails the victimless would claim that someone who smoked pot a month ago was DUI.

    Proof from his citation that Cory is a secret pothead:

    NHTSA: “selective attention (ability to filter out irrelevant information) has been shown to be adversely affected with increasing duration of use of DFP”

  70. barry freed

    Mr Taggart,

    Your glaring ignorance and the lack of curiosity about cannabis discredits your equally firm held opinions of Nukes and boreholes.

    If your research and conclusions on Cannabis are this poor, how are we to trust your points of argument on anything?

  71. Robert McTaggart

    How are we to trust you when you cannot even spell my name right?

  72. Robert McTaggart

    I apologize for not majoring in Marijuana Studies…but I would like to see studies where marijuana use increased significantly and traffic accidents and deaths involving marijuana users actually decreased significantly.

    Just the other day John Kerry voiced his support for nuclear.
    “Given this challenge we face today, and given the progress of fourth generation nuclear: go for it,” he said. “No other alternative, zero emissions.”
    http://www.wbur.org/bostonomix/2017/01/09/john-kerry-mit-climate-change

    Sadly, we cannot turn the dial for radioactive half-lives down to zero, and we cannot wish it away. So it is worth investigating all of the methods of waste disposal, including the borehole method, to actually solve a problem.

  73. bearcreekbat

    Today’s WaPo has a compelling story about a mother’s decision to treat her son’s autism with cannabis. It essentially changed the family’s life and saved a child from great pain and torment. It also describes the problems the family encountered as they sought to obtain the correct strain that would help their son.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/i-made-my-son-cannabis-cookies-they-changed-his-life/2017/01/06/699b1d20-d1ef-11e6-a783-cd3fa950f2fd_story.html?utm_term=.3550a14b1898&wpisrc=nl_p1wemost-partner-1&wpmm=1

    When discussing the potential “harmful” effects of marijuana use, we need to keep in mind that a substance with potential harmful effects can also have positive effects on users. It can’t reasonably be an all or none argument. For the child in the story regular ingestion of marijuana literally changed his life for the better.

  74. Robert McTaggart

    Medical marijuana (or something with engineered THC levels or other by-products of marijuana) for pain management when there are no other working alternatives…prescribed by a medical professional and highly regulated…is different than being able to use recreational marijuana whenever you want before you get on the highway.

  75. bearcreekbat

    Prof McTaggert, do you think recreational users in states where it is allowed get any positive effects from the marijuana they use? Here are 11 possibilities:

    1. Unlock your creativity
    2. Become closer with your friends
    3. Food is more delicious
    4. Thinking outside the box
    5. Bring you and others onto the same wavelength
    6. Help you test your limits
    7. Feel playful and giddy
    8. Enjoy the small things life has to offer
    9. Different perspective
    10. Energize your senses
    11. Give yourself a break from others, work, stress, reality.

    http://herb.co/2015/10/15/11-non-medical-benefits-of-marijuana/

    And recall that, if illegal, marijuana cannot be tested or regulated to insure safety and quality. Legalization comes with strict regulations, which are intended to protect the public health.

    And I totally understand your DUI concerns, yet why would anyone who uses marijuana because it is legal, then choose to break the law by driving intoxicated? There is a real disconnect in your analysis that somehow treats legalization as a cause for an individual’s decision to break the law by driving while intoxicated.

  76. bearcreekbat

    In addition, your phrase “being able to use recreational marijuana whenever you want before you get on the highway” mis-describes legalization. I think you will agree that nothing in the initiative nor in other states’ legalization laws permits anyone “being able to use recreational marijuana whenever you want before you get on the highway.”

  77. Robert McTaggart

    1-11 can be achieved by other means. Have you tried a happy marriage?

    Illegal marijuana cannot be tested or verified? Wow…sounds like a big roll of the dice to use it then.

    What is the “safe level” of marijuana to use prior to driving?

  78. bearcreekbat

    Happy marriages are wonderful experiences, although I don’t understand your point. Just because there might be more than one way to achieve a positive life experience doesn’t negate the simple fact that there are positive and joyful experiences for many people from using recreational marijuana.

    The fact that “illegal” marijuana is not tested or subject to regulation does, in fact, make it a roll of the dice. The fact that the number of people who are willing to take the gamble seems to strengthen the point that these people feel they are getting a positive benefit from using marijuana. Legalizing and regulating a product that so many people use seems a positive and reasonable public policy that would align with our safety concerns over consumable products.

    As for a “safe” level of marijuana to use before driving, this would likely depend on whether the amount imbibed actually impaired one’s driving abilities. Evidence tells us that a person will test positive for marijuana use long after any intoxicating effect wears off, so it would seem to be more a matter of timing rather than quantity.

    As I understand the marijuana legalization laws, none permit driving while intoxicated, regardless of the amount consumed. A “safe level” to use before driving would be an amount that did not raise the THC in one’s blood to a level showing intoxication, although each state decides what level is permissible. Currently it appears law enforcement can use a combination of tools to determine whether a driver is under the influence, including field sobriety tests, breathalyzer and blood tests. Here is some information describing how law enforcement handles the situation:

    http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/dui-and-dwi-charges/marijuana-dui-laws.htm#

  79. Some of McTaggart’s comments make me question whether he’s approaching this dialogue in good faith…

  80. Robert McTaggart

    Decriminalization is worth looking at. Ways to reduce drug issues in the first place are worth looking at. But it sounds like this will not get resolved until there are some universal standards about what is being measured to say if the legislation would be working.

  81. bearcreekbat

    What sort of “universal standards” would you support?

  82. mike from iowa

    Doc you are needed in Washington DC pretty pronto.

    Trump’s transition team has reportedly instructed those in charge of maintaining America’s nuclear arsenal to pack up and go on Jan. 20.

    Get Drumpf to smoke pot and mellow out while yer there.

  83. mike from iowa

    The fact that “illegal” marijuana is not tested or subject to regulation does, in fact, make it a roll of the dice.

    Our food supply is supposed to be tested, yet more Americans are getting hit with all kinds of food poisonings due to lax oversight.

  84. There’s no such thing as a “universal standard” to measure the effectiveness of any kind of legislation, not for marijuana and not for any other subject matter either. Red herring #1.

    Nothing about any of this proposed legislation would lead a reasonable person to suggest that the proposed laws are designed to allow pot smokers “to use recreational marijuana whenever you want before you get on the highway.” Red herring #2, with a heavy dose of fear mongering.