Mickelson Says Heck No to Taxing Marijuana

An eager reader notices Speaker G. Mark Mickelson’s (R-12/Sioux Falls) hypocrisy on funding state functions with unhealthy habits. Speaker Mickelson says there’s no way he’ll support the initiative to regulate and tax recreational marijuana:

I shall choose the form of your destructor!
I shall choose the form of your destructor!

“Never. Absolutely not,” said South Dakota House Speaker Mark Mickelson, R-Sioux Falls. “Tax yourself for something you need, don’t tax someone else for their path to destruction” [Dana Ferguson, “Could Recreational Marijuana Help Pay S.D. Teachers?that Sioux Falls paper, 2017.04.03].

That’s funny—Speaker Mickelson’s neighbor Rep. Steven Haugaard (R-10/Sioux Falls) offered House Bill 1199 this year to repeal another tax on some South Dakotans’ path to destruction, video lottery, and Speaker Mickelson let that healthy proposal die in its first committee hearing. Mickelson’s fellow Republicans offered another bill in 2014 to reduce the state’s reliance on video lottery, and Mickelson didn’t sign on as a co-sponsor. And back in 2013, G. Mark supported a bill to entice more people to the path of video lottery destruction by octupling the maximum payout.

But, by gosh, not pot!


48 Responses to Mickelson Says Heck No to Taxing Marijuana

  1. Does he plan to repeal the sin tax on alcohol then? Talk about your paths to destruction! Six people a day die from alcohol poisoning. No one in all of history has ever died from a marijuana overdose.

  2. The thing I appreciate most about the legalize marijuana discussion is how it draws a sharp focus on the hypocrisy of our laws. (But when has consistency of a moral stance been a requirement of our laws?)

    We will stand for what is moral, for what is right, for the well-being of our fellow man . . . as long as the profit margin is maintained.

  3. All right, here is my take on all of this.

    Medical Marijuana – Only if approved by the FDA AND prescribed by a doctor AND filled by a South Dakota Pharmacist. Cannabis oil has already be pre-approved by the legislature to be included, once the FDA green lights it. The one thing I am 100% certain about medicine is we don’t know it all. Especially when it come to the brain and mind. Why should we turn away something that appears to work, even if we don’t understand why.

    Hemp – The sooner we can this this going, the better. The agriculture sector is taking a huge hit, right now. The forecast isn’t much better, they are showing a slump until 2019. Our farmers need something else to rotate with beans and corn. Hemp itself is a very versatile product that can be used in a large number of applications. At the state level, I would say yes. The problem is the federal government and its alphabet soup of agencies.

    Recreational Marijuana – No, No, No and let’s see…No! Someone who becomes intoxicated from marijuana may not seem like a danger to himself or others however give that person a firearm or put them behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, then they can become deadly. I do not like it. I do not like it one bit, not a house with a mouse, or on a train, or a plane or even a box with a fox. I do not like the idea one little bit.

    Video Lottery – This is a huge boondoggle. The worst part is the state government is addicted to it. We really should end our dependence on video lottery. The down side the state would lose a funding source. We have already seen the state will not do without. I would almost say we could re-purpose some of those video lottery machines to do other things. Like a flagging down motorist in construction zones.

  4. Tyler Schumacher

    MC, are you for Prohibition?

  5. Conservative SD is never going to legalize recreational marijuana so people just need to let this go. Maybe, just maybe if there is ever a majority democrat legislature and democrat governor would it ever be considered.

  6. Jenny, why does “conservative SD” say no to recreational marijuana, but yes to alcohol, tobacco, and video lottery? What makes those lesser vices?

  7. Roger Cornelius

    It is unbelievable that tax, borrow, and spend republicans are refusing to legalize a proven and safe source of revenue.
    Alas. South Dakota republicans are well known for rejecting something that is in their own best interest.

  8. The demon weed is bad, it is very bad. But if it were to ever become legal in South Dakota we should tax the bejubbas out of it. 50% tax, I say.

  9. http://www.thecannabist.co/2017/03/31/colorado-governor-john-hickenlooper-marijuana-2017/76411/

    Colorado’s formerly anti-cannabis governor explains the simple logic that taxing people who are going to consume cannabis regardless of its legality is an effective way to educate those who have yet to make that decision. The result? Cannabis use amongst youth and teens has not increased in a statistically significant way while revenue for all sorts of things like education, (cannabis ed and regular ol k-12 money both, plenty to go around) law enforcement, and infrastructure.

    MC, your arguments against recreational marijuana are oft repeated if not false and illogical. In academic debate we call your arguments non-unique, as in, the plan doesnt cause those problems any more than the status quo does, not unique to the plan. People are already using cannabis recreationally, those that would drive or shoot things while stoned are no more likely to do so when they can purchase it legally and pay a proper tax to local and state coffers (to help stop driving under the influence of any impairing substances, to decrease response times for shootings of all sorts, to educate on the dangers of driving or shooting guns whilst impaired).

    Colorado, Washington, and Oregon have not seen increases in marijuana related DUI or accidental shootings. I dont need to posit marijuana against alcohol, just costly unsuccessful prohibition of marijuana vs controlled taxation of it, the results are very clear. You can as a matter of opinion not support marijuana legalization but dont try to base that opinion in “facts” unless you plan on being able to support them with a modicum of evidence.

  10. Donald Pay

    Well, I agree wholeheartedly with Li’l Mick, “Tax yourself for something you need, don’t tax someone else for their path to destruction.”

    The state doesn’t tax marriage, for example. There is a fee, but no tax, because marriage is taxing enough as it is. Big Daddy Mick did fall for using the video lottery as a means of taking South Dakota out of a financial hole. I don’t think Big Daddy Mick was all that much in favor of gaming, but he had rich folks cajoling him to shake hands and make a deal with the one-armed bandit because other folks at the time suggested that the state should base taxation on income, rather than vice.

    I see taxing pot as another gimmick, like video lottery, that distracts from the real issues. If you want to legalize pot, do it without promising a tax windfall. Put a small tax on it to deal with the inevitable need to regulate the industry and mop up any problems. More importantly, do the right thing: tax income, which actually is a tax on something you need.

  11. It’s become undeniable that opioid abuse significantly decreases in legal marijuana states.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=opioid+deaths+in+marijuana+states&newwindow=1&espv=2&source=lnms&tbm=nws&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjfgeWC347TAhUl24MKHemnAMMQ_AUICigB&biw=1366&bih=638

    20 years from now everyone but South Dakota will recognize the titanic folly of marijuana prohibition.

  12. My old friend Beth would say we should tax the bejebuddahs out of the demon weed, we should maybe go to 75% tax.

  13. I voted for Ellee Spawn. Don’t blame me.

  14. grudznick, and what would Beth say the tax rate ought to be on the demon alcohol?

  15. Until you see the benefit of a cancer patient who is able to put nausea at bay and gain a bit of an appetite after simple toke, you will have this tunnel vision that folks like Mickelson have. People should have access to this product, just like they have access to an aspirin or an antacid. There is no argument that is valid after you see someone who was wasting away begin to regain color and keep weight on. It is very near a miracle.

  16. Why should we be pushing to legalize smoking pot while simultaneously pushing to restrict smoking tobacco to the point where you can only do it at home, under your bed sheets?

    From a public health standpoint, there are minimal benefits vs. the dangers of an impaired operator and ultimate cancer risks.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2516340/

  17. If we are looking to stoop low for revenue, lets legalize prostitution and tax that. that would bring lots of cash. We really don,t care in SD where our money comes from. You can go to a bar, play video lottery, have a few drinks, pick up a hooker and go to a hotel, smoke a little weed and enjoy the evening with your new partner while contributing to our great states general fund. You have to love it here in SD, we have it all.

  18. This is pretty typical.

    There is no mention of anything positive, no effort made to compromise, just simple: ATTACK!! I suppose that is easier that having a discussion. Or even *gasp* a compromise.

    Would people be willing to give up their right to keep and bear arms and surrender their privilege to operate a motor vehicle for five years, to partake in recreational marijuana?

  19. Roger Cornelius

    MC
    What sort of compromise might you suggest?

  20. If this is a taxation discussion, should be talk about taxing financial institutions who use SD’s “accommodating” atmosphere to maximize profit?

    If this is a morality discussion, should we talk about banning smoking, alcohol, sugar (and other food additives) that harm those who ingest those things (legally) now?

    Again we loop back to the hypocrisy of so much of the marijuana discussion: the rules we set for the morality of marijuana are not applied to moral equivalent products legal in the US, and the fervor we have for taxing this product is not applied to other sources of high-profit (see what I did there?) industry that benefit from the relaxing of state law and regulation.

  21. There’s also a practicality element to the discussion.

    Marijuana has been outlawed for a long time. Tobacco & alcohol has been commercialized for a long time.

    We acknowledge we can’t put the genie back in the bottle when it comes to cigarettes & alcohol. Those vices cost our state millions in additional health care and criminal justice costs directly, and we lose tens of millions indirectly through lost productivity. That’s just our state. Let’s be clear – the sin taxes levied on alcohol & tobacco are not offsetting the damage they do to society writ large.

    From a public health standpoint, there is no good argument to legalize marijuana. The libertarian in me says it ought to be. But I’ve watched first hand some very bright and talented friends piss away their lives to the drug.

  22. Wayne, isn’t the FACT that pot is less harmful than alcohol & tobacco a good argument for legalization? The weed genie won’t be going back in the bottle in legal states so we may as well jump in sooner than later. There are lots of people out there smoking pot who haven’t pissed away their lives so your anecdotal evidence does not matter.

  23. MC, you guys didn’t approve “cannabis oil.” You approved Epidiolex™, one cannabinoid drug patented and owned by one company that lobbied you legislators for the favor.

    O is correct about the splendid opportunity a cannabis initiative offers to discuss the moral dimensions of numerous policies.

  24. Tyler, I wouldn’t mind voluntary prohibition, in which everyone stopped drinking alcohol. ;-)

  25. One other note, it hasn’t been illegal all that long, less than 100 years, and it’s been used for centuries. You might want to look into why it was made illegal in the first place…racism, basically.

  26. To Roger C’s point, Republicans will reject a Democratic tax cut for the sake of balancing the budget, and they’ll take all the booze and lottery taxes they can get, but they won’t consider the revenue enhancement New Approach wants to put on our ballot.

    Thinking about Greg’s statement, how do we rank tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, porn (which the Legislature declared a public health crisis this Session), and prostitution on the moral scale? Which of those items do the most harm? Which should be banned, and which should be regulated and taxed?

  27. Bet you a twenty that if old Mick got him the cancer, he would be smoking like Cheech while scarfing down some Twinkies.

  28. MC, no mention of anything positive??
    Cancer treatment
    Child/teen drug abuse education/treatment
    Opiod use decrease

    I challenge you to name a single positive outcome of prohibition…

    I would gladly trade in my right to tote around a gun, to toke up a few bowls at home at the end of a long work week. I trust the police, military, etc to do their jobs. And heck, if cannabis taxes can fund better public trasnportation in SD i would gladly and actually prefer to use that as a matter of practicality and the environment

  29. The demon weed has been shown to fry people’s minds and create drug fiends. Fiends, thirsty for chemical stimulation, I tell you, are not what we need more of.

    Mr. o, I expect that Beth would say the tax on alcohol should be 6.5%.

  30. “From a public health standpoint, there is no good argument to legalize marijuana.”

    False, there are several.
    First, that statement assumes that making it recreationally legal will lead to an increase in users which has not been proven to be true, people who want to get high already are. This means all of the negative public health effects of marijuana use are already happening, if there is a chance we could decrease use or abuse of cannabis by bringing it into the open, regulating it, and providing more robust education and treatment programs, then its a win for the public and its health. Also, given the current meth and opiod crisis’, law enforcement officers are stretched thin, wasting valuable resources on something as trivial and comparably harmless as marijuana is exacerbating 2 major, real, FATAL public health threats, and its not working, remember anyone that wants to consume cannabis already can and does. Finally, marijuana has proven to be a great way to help with long term opiod addictions for several reasons. These are all pretty grounded in science and fact public health benefits.

    I hear a lot of anecdotal “my cousins life was ruined by pot” stories, doesnt that prove that prohibition is an utter failure?

    I posit you Wayne, or anyone supporting continued prohibition of cannabis, the same question I asked MC. What positive outcomes have you seen from the prohibition of marijuana?

  31. Bill Dithmer

    Like a bunch of monkeys in a zoo SDs legislature continues their spring fling, throwing crap at a populous that seems to be happy covered with shit. They like so many other legal bodies feel the need to control the minds and the containers those minds are living in. Sure is a poor substitute for, what the hell is that called again, oh ya medicine.

    For some unexplained reason this bunch feels the need for power over someone they themselves work for. Women, pot smokers, people that are down on their luck, and anyone but their own sorry hides. Gives “THE RED WAY” a whole new meaning.

    While I would endorse the complete legalization of cannabis, I feel that some of you have unreal expectations. There is no pot of gold for South Dakota. That ship has done sailed at least four years ago.

    That doesnt mean tax money wont be there from pot, just that the amount will be much smaller then the public is being told. Not enough state citizens, and a nice tourist industry, but hardly enough to bankroll the things being talked about here.

    I dont mean to stick a pin in your ballon, but here are my thoughts. The only way to get the people behind any attempt at legalization is to tie the tax to the perceptions of the majorit of the voters. Thats means addictions , their causes, and treatments. Notice I said adictions plural.

    Dont try to get money from the pot for any other reason. Anytime you muddy the water when a law is brought before the people it just confuses, and never defines the real purpose. And besides, the pie might be big enough to fund one thing, at least give that one thing a chance. Adictions, whatever they are need that money for treatment.

    Wouldn’t research into cannabonoid bonding, and tumbling be somethimg the state agriculture college could get behind. How about hemp genetics. The flora and fona are more then wheat, corn, and beans. Right now there is limited research in how animals assimilate hemp. The studies on milk production in Europe are promising, but hardly conclusive.

    Now I’m on the last lap.

    I’m going to make a statement that is going to piss a lot of people off. Like it or not, the higher the tax, the bigger the black market share of what could have been state profits will be! Just something to think about.

    The Blindman dye e

  32. Bill Dithmer

    Where are my post?

  33. Mr. Logic, one positive outcome is the burned out druggies get thrown in jail where they can’t move from toking the demon weed on to the meth and heroin and then start robbing people. The public safety is higher without “tuned up” potheads robbing convenience stores.

  34. Grud. How typical of you to assume that I am a man.

    So let me get your argument correct. Throwing people in jail for cannabis use makes them LESS likely to use other drugs and go on to lead a successful life as a productive member of society. How so? Certainly these arent life sentences, actual evidence would suggest that exposing marijuana users to more hardened criminals in jail makes future, harder drug use MORE likely. Additionally, the stigma of a petty drug conviction and jail time makes people harder to employ, making them more likely to turn to crime to pay the bills. Also, since this argument is descriptive of the status quo, we should see declining meth and opiod abuse as we continue to arrest people for cannabis right? What is up with this epidemic everyone is describing then?

    Sorry Grud, throwing people in jail for cannabis is actually one of the worst public health parts about prohibition, and that is without even mentioning the racial aspect

  35. Your name is “Logic”, so logically you are most likely to be a man, or adolescent boy perhaps.

  36. “lots of people out there DRINKING ALCOHOL who haven’t pissed away their lives so your anecdotal evidence does not matter.”

    THINGS ARE NOT AS SIMPLE AS THE SEEM

    FOR EXAMPLE: “Medical marijuana” that has any appreciable THC content may have notable adverse side effects, including impairment of judgment and motor function and the risk of addiction.”

    We will have more confident conclusions about this drug’s benefits and its harms only when it is easier for qualified researchers across the country to do high-quality research. https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2017/02/nasem-report-recommends-removing-barriers-to-cannabis-research

  37. https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/04/03/a-foolish-take-legal-marijuana-sales-could-still-g.aspx?source=iaasitlnk0000003

    This statement from this article sums up the crux of my argument and the fatal flaw in continued prohibition. (And this is obviously an entirely economic viewpoint from him but it applies to public health as well)

    “What’s so interesting about the market for legal marijuana, however, is that it isn’t carving out a new niche. It’s instead just displacing the illegal market for pot.”

    This guy is not a pro cannabis pothead, he is a stock and bond financial writer, pretty unbiased and numbers type of guy. So again I ask, surely again i will go unanswered, why prohibition?

  38. Logic states:

    First, that statement assumes that making it recreationally legal will lead to an increase in users which has not been proven to be true, people who want to get high already are. This means all of the negative public health effects of marijuana use are already happening

    I will direct you to evidence to prove you are mistaken. Please examine the Youth and Adult Marijuana Use report for Colorado

    I’ll walk you through the salient points:

    1) States with legalized recreational and medical marijuana show higher rates of 12-17 year olds self-reporting having used marijuana in the past 30 days. (page 3)
    1a) Colorado has over 12% of teens using, whereas South Dakota has just above 5%

    2) States with legalized recreational and medical marijuana show higher rates of 18-25 year olds self-reporting having used marijuana in the past 30 days. (page 6)
    2a) Again, Colorado is at the top with over 31% using and South Dakota is 49th with 13% using.

    3) Again, states with legalized recreational and medical marijuana have the highest usage in adults. (page 9)
    3a) Colorado has the highest adult usage of adults at 12%; South Dakota the lowest at 3%

    4) You’ll note the graphs on pages 2,5, & 8 which show when commercialization and subsequent recreational legalization took place in Colorado, and note the climbing trend lines.

    4a) Teen and college age use increased about 20% from pre-legalization rates

    4b) Adult use increased 63% from pre-legalization rates.

    Logic, clearly we must deduce your assertion that everyone who wants to smoke pot is already is irrefutably false. Therefore, we are NOT already dealing with all the problems marijuana could cause in our society. Especially in South Dakota, where we are at the very bottom for pot use. We have nowhere to go but up, which means nothing but bad news for healthcare and criminal justice costs.

    Colorado is staring down a loaded public health gun. A higher percentage of teens and college age adults are smoking pot; I already linked the NIH study which shows an 8% increased risk of lung cancer per year of smoking pot. Add those together and you’ll see dramatically higher costs to care for people 30 years from now.

    So my assertion still stands, Logic. That’s at least one benefit to continued prohibition.

    To your other point:

    Also, given the current meth and opiod crisis’, law enforcement officers are stretched thin, wasting valuable resources on something as trivial and comparably harmless as marijuana is exacerbating 2 major, real, FATAL public health threats

    I cannot deny that there are other, worse drugs out there. But if our law enforcement has to spend more time dealing with DUIs and other calls related to people being stoned and in need of assistance, I’m not sure we’re going to see much savings from current marijuana-related drug busts going down. Colorado & Washington are also trying to figure out how to set a legal limit of toxicity for impaired driving after using marijuana. That’s a “fun” mess within the courts, which will add significant legal costs.

    I hate to bring this up because I detest the practice, but ending the prohibition on marijuana will also eliminate the civil asset forfeiture which follows those drug busts. Our law enforcement agencies generate considerable revenue from auctioning seized assets. Without that, our tax dollars need to go up or we need to lay off LEOs, thus exacerbating the challenge of dealing with those other drugs and crime issues.

  39. Tyler Schumacher

    ‘To get high’ from Logic, and ‘self-reporting’ from you Wayne. Two things that make it difficult to come to any real conclusions.

    I also don’t see the word ‘smoking’ in that document anywhere. How much of an increase would be smoking increase vs non-smoking increase? How would a potential SD increase compare to CO, where even before legalization they were ranked 4 for youth use?

    Statistics are fun to look at, but there’s typically a lot of missing information.

  40. Tyler,

    The data cited is a national survey on drug use and health. It’s the best we’re going to get for comprehensive statistics with validity and reliability. Is it perfect? No. But you cannot just dismiss them because it doesn’t jive with your desires.

    I’m a data guy. I have a masters degree with a heavy focus in data analysis. I’ll be the first to tell you that there are plenty of issues. First and foremost, usage within 30 days is not the same as habitual usage – that survey question can capture people who try it once and never again.

    But it’s the best information available upon which to base policy decisions. It’s certainly better than an investment website siting Huffpo information (where that info comes from is unknown).

    I can tell you there’s definitely a bias in self-report surveys to under-report incidence. But since that trend is universal, there’s not a lot of cause to imagine the figures cited are over-representative. Nor should we assume Coloradans are less likely to under-report marijuana use than South Dakotans.

    In regards to the market share and expected increase in usage:

    It’s not unreasonable to hypothesize a 20% increase in marijuana use amongst teens and college age individuals, and a 60% increase in use among adults 26 years and over. That’s what happened in Washington and Colorado post legalization.

    Logic’s investment article’s argument is flawed; it states that since we project the current illicit market to be $53 billion, it’s a known quantity and unlikely to grow. This is demonstrably false. The survey results indicate legalization results in increased use. Moreover, alcohol consumption is a prime example of an expanding market of a mind-altering substance (which has been climbing over the rate of inflation over the past decade. https://www.statista.com/statistics/207936/us-total-alcoholic-beverages-sales-since-1990/)

    Tyler, I’ll try to find the survey tool to find the exact question wording, but can you find me a reputable source indicating the majority of marijuana use is NOT in the form of smoking? If <50% of pot is smoked, we can halve the increase and find a reduced gain in impact.

    For instance, currently 3% of South Dakotans age 26+ reported using marijuana. If we assume half smoke and half eat special brownies, then we're only worrying about 12,700 people smoking marijuana now.

    If that number increases by 60%, then it's 20,400. That's an extra 7,700 people at risk of getting lung, throat, and mouth cancer. If 16% of those people get lung cancer (based upon similar risk for a smoker – the risks are pretty parallel), that's 1,155 additional cancer cases in South Dakota. If each costs a mere $100,000 to treat, that's an additional $115.5 million economic impact.

    If 80% of marijuana users smoke, that calculus turns to:
    – 20,400 current marijuana smokers
    – 12,240 new smokers
    – 1,836 additional cancer cases
    – $183.6 million in economic impact

  41. Wayne, how dare you either blatantly distort or unknowingly misinterpret that study.
    1. It is a cherry picking of statistics highlighted and put together by an anti-cannabis group.
    2. The actual source studies done were finished by 2014, which means these are great pre-legalization numbers.
    3. http://www.denverpost.com/2016/06/20/marijuana-use-colorado-teens-marijuana-no-increase/
    Above is a link to an article which outlines the most recent ( and only relavent) studies show in CO, which is the only state that has seen legalization long enough for studies to begin reporting impacts.
    4. The ACTUAL studies conducted by colorado dept of health (which earlier versions of your charts and graphs distort) are introduced with paragraphs like this, this is the most recent version…
    “In 2013, following the passage of Amendment 64 which allows for the retail sale and possession of
    marijuana, the Colorado General Assembly enacted Senate Bill 13‐283. This bill mandated the Division of
    Criminal Justice in the Department of Public Safety to conduct a study of the impacts of Amendment 64,
    particularly as these relate to law enforcement activities. This report seeks to establish and present the
    baseline measures for the metrics specified in S.B. 13‐283, codified as C.R.S. 24‐33.4‐516.  
    The majority of the information presented here should be considered pre‐commercialization, baseline
    data because much of the information is available only through 2014, and data sources vary
    considerably in terms of what exists historically. Consequently, it is too early to draw any conclusions
    about the potential effects of marijuana legalization or commercialization on public safety, public
    health, or youth outcomes, and this may always be difficult due to the lack of historical data.
    Furthermore, the information presented here should be interpreted with caution. The decreasing social
    stigma regarding marijuana use could lead individuals to be more likely to report use on surveys and to
    health workers in emergency departments and poison control centers, making marijuana use appear to
    increase when perhaps it has not. Finally, law enforcement officials and prosecuting attorneys continue
    to struggle with enforcement of the complex and sometimes conflicting marijuana laws that remain.
    Thus, the lack of pre‐commercialization data, the decreasing social stigma, and challenges to law
    enforcement combine to make it difficult to translate these early findings into definitive statements of
    outcomes.”

    So, the fact that these states were already the highest use rates means, logically, that they will continue to be, but not necessarily that legalization caused that high use.

    Also, the fact that MOST actual studies are reporting no statistical increase in teen use (link above) despite all of the even artificial reasons listed by the dept of health that there should be an increase is incredibly encouraging.

    Luckily marijuana has a tax where we can properly pay law enforcement the right way as opposed to incentivizing shady seizure practices for them to stay funded, I think that is a slam dunk ethically, also, that approach means police are hoping for more criminals each day, not less, I hope you arent right on that. And dont forget, plenty of real drug dealers dealing real, fatal drugs that police can still seize assets from.

  42. Tyler Schumacher

    My ‘desire’ is for people to have access to a drug that can be extremely beneficial to them.

    For the self-reporting, my point was that you are probably more likely to self-report after legalization. So the increase is probably not as large as indicated.

    As you pointed out, SD and CO are starting from vastly different places. SD mirroring CO is nowhere close to assured.

    Even if 90% of current SD marijuana users smoke, that doesn’t necessarily give much of an indication as to what would happen after legalization. I know nothing of the current SD market for marijuana, but if there is suddenly an abundance of options other than smoking, maybe the total number of users who smoke would not rise by much. If smoking is the big issue, then put something in the legislation to discourage it. It doesn’t seem like that has to be a killing point.

    Your link appears to be pay-walled by the way.

  43. Logic,

    The data is the data. It doesn’t matter who is using it if it’s accurately displayed from the source.

    The NSDUH data is reliable and valid. I assume the same for the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (i haven’t looked at their methodology, but it looks as though they get about 17,000 responses, so they’ve got decent power analysis). Their methodologies are different, but that’s fine; they’re internally consistent.

    I find it interesting that the national survey is chronically under-representative of use compared to the Colorado survey – the national data indicates 12% of Colorado teens have used marijuana in the past 30 days; the Colorado survey indicates considerably more at 20% +/-. I guess teens are less scared of state questionnaires.

    It’s wholly possible some of the increased usage among teens in the national survey is from social acceptance and thus just increased reporting.

    But what about adults? Do you think 100% of the 60% increase in reported marijuana use among adults is from social acceptance and legalization? Can you find me any evidence usage amongst adults isn’t increasing in legalized states?

    It’s counter intuitive that if you make something legal, the market share will not increase from the black market base. That defies basic economic principles and historical evidence from the prohibition of alcohol to the sunset of the 1994 assault weapons ban.

    In any event, if it’s too early to tell what the impacts are, why on earth should we blindly follow suit? Why not wait another five years and get some more definitive information about what’s really going on in CO & WA? If pot’s been illegal for over 100 years, it can stand another 5 years.

    And again, let’s not pretend marijuana is harmless.
    https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana

    https://psychcentral.com/news/2016/12/27/marijuana-use-up-among-teens-since-legalized-in-colorado-washington/114378.html

    The potential effect of legalizing marijuana for recreational use has been a topic of considerable debate since Washington and Colorado first legalized its use for adults in 2012. Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., followed suit in 2014, and voters in California, Massachusetts, and Nevada approved recreational use this past November.

    “The perceived harmfulness of marijuana has declined sharply in the U.S. in the last few years, despite the fact that there are adverse consequences associated with marijuana use in some adults and in adolescents,” said Deborah Hasin, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and in psychiatry at Columbia University and principal investigator of the study.

    “Epidemiologic monitoring of these consequences as more states legalize recreational use, and public education about potential health consequences, are important to protect public health.”

    The study’s findings suggest that legalization of marijuana in Washington reduced stigma and perceived risk of use, which could explain why younger adolescents are using more marijuana after legalization, according to Cerdá.

  44. What you posted isnt the data though, it is an analysis of different studies cobbled together and then misrepresented. You also forget the key factor in all of these studies…
    Recency – you ignore the fact that the CO dept of health literally recommends using the study you cite as a pre-commercialization baseline, rendering it irrelevant in this discussion of effects of legalization, there has been no 60% increase in adult use in CO, that is preposterous to suggest and no one supports that claim.

    If you go back to my original post, I include a link to an interview with the governor of Colorado. The highlights are that teen use has not gone up, the money for cannabis education has been nice and seems to be working better than the threat of jail time, the sky has not fallen.

    He also stops short of endorsing other states’ legalization for a few more years until the data is more solid. I personally believe CO benefits a great deal from canna-tourism and coming out and endorsing it nationwide reduces that market to zero which incentivizes him to be tepid, but I would prefer that response to a flat – “No, cuz teens and DUIs and guns and blah and blah and blah”

  45. bearcreekbat

    Another problem with Wayne B’s analysis is that no state has legalized teen or youth use of marijuana. Legalizing it for adults is no different than legalizing alcohol for adults; teens are still prohibited from imbibing.

    Perhaps the thinking goes, if something is legal for adults, it will be more attractive to teens. That argument seems to fail, however, in light of the fact that virtually every teen in the USA knows that it is legal for adults to imbibe in several states so that cat is out of the bag.

    Maybe the idea is that marijuana will be more accessible for delinquent teens who want to indulge in the forbidden fruit if adults are permitted to have it. That idea seems weak, however, as states restrict and monitor the manufacture, possession and sale of marijuana just as they monitor alcohol.

    And those delinquent teens in legal states who manage to get some marijuana are protected, de facto, by the state’s quality control regulations and inspections. The delinquent teens in prohibition states may be ingesting a product that has been dangerously modified and made less safe.

    Modifying the law to enhance teen safety makes sense. Regardless of prohibition there will likely forever be delinquent teens who will seek to individuate by trying the “forbidden fruits.” If we can make those young lawbreakers safer, then lets bring marijuana manufacture, possession and sale out into the light through legalization and reasonable regulation.

  46. Nobody seems to be looking at the decrease in Colorado of more harmful drugs since legalization. Alcohol and opiate use has gone down. Kids are not telling the truth in SD if only 5% admit to using cannabis. If you don’t have to go to a drug dealer to get marijuana, you won’t try harder drugs!

  47. bearcreekbat

    Another good thing would come from legalization: the Pierre police could no longer forcibly catheterize anyone suspected of smoking marijuana, and could no longer force a catheter into the penis of a screaming three year child to check for marijuana residue in his urine (as reported by Cory today from an Argus leader article: http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/crime/2017/04/07/hooded-handcuffed-and-violated-south-dakotas-use-forced-catheterization/100000158/)

  48. Is it all that crazy [in a state with no income tax, a chronic budget crisis, a sincere love of freedom and a distaste for Federal government telling us what to do] to propose legalizing industrial hemp?

    I mean, who is the Federal government to keep South Dakota from growing non-drug crops in West River gumbo? If we could increase production value of land while not getting anyone hooked on the dope, then why the hell not? It’s limited to an agricultural product on that level, and there is no danger of anything.

    And heck, since a significant number of people are already out there recreationally smoking it, regardless of its illegality, why not tax the growing flow of that relatively harmless product? It seems in-line with South Dakota tax revenue needs and freedom-oriented, American, state’s rights values.

    Instead, South Dakota would rather allow the sale of guns to clinically insane people with violent backgrounds (at gun shows and online) while locking those weed smokers up as if those dopers are the real threat to society. Meanwhile, no one has ever heard of a guy who got high on the pot and then suddenly really wanted to rob a bank or kill people.

    I would like to see the pro-pot people in SD hire economists to develop monetary projections on how South Dakota’s economy and state budget should/could be estimated to benefit from forward thinking industrial hemp policy alone.

    If we can just get on the front end of something – anything – any change in the economy or innovation of absolutely anything – we could make real progress as a state. Unfortunately, I fear that we just don’t have the balls nor the brains. Ya know, it really takes guts to be different.