The Legislature’s Executive Board spent some time yesterday talking about the greatest threat to their club, initiative and referendum. A Legislative Research Council brief on initiatives submitted for review gives some details on a marijuana legalization measure that hasn’t received much public attention.
John Dale of Spearfish, who maintains a webpage titled “Cannabis Consumers for Liberty,” has submitted an initiated measure to decriminalize cannabis. Dale’s first draft caught heck from LRC for all-caps, incomplete sentences, and too many powerless declarations and findings. Dale’s second draft hews closer to standard South Dakota initiative format. It appears to remove all legal penalties for possession, sale, or use of marijuana. Among items that will kill that second draft in my book are Section 17, which declares April 20 “Cannabis Day” in South Dakota; Section 20, which strikes SDHSAA penalties for students who use marijuana; Sections 37, 39, and 40, which remove the restriction on driving under the influence of marijuana; Sections 47 and 48, which makes the same unwise error of allowing boaters to use marijuana; and several sections that appear to remove abuse of marijuana from considerations of custody and parental rights but not abuse of alcohol. On the latter, I would contend that if the state can deem a person too drunk to parent, the state should also be able to deem a person too stoned to parent.
On the good side, Dale’s Section 39 includes a repeal of the state’s torturous practice of forced catheterization. Section 39 would amend SDCL 32-23-10, which currently deems operating a motor vehicle as giving consent to “to the withdrawal of blood or other bodily substance and chemical analysis of the person’s blood, breath, or other bodily substance” to test for intoxicants, to allow only “external capture of urine and any chemical analysis of the person’s breath, hair, fecal matter, or urine.” No forced drawing of urine or blood—John Dale! Drop everything else and circulate a petition just for that section!
Dale’s proposal does not appear to go into the same detail on licensing and taxing marijuana production and sales as the cannabis regulation initiative proposed by New Approach South Dakota. The New Approach initiative imposes excise taxes and distributes revenue by specific percentages to education, health, law enforcement, and the general fund. Dale’s proposal specifies no licensing or taxation scheme, but Section 12 grants whatever revenues may come from the proposal to small farmers for “early-stage, high-risk local agriculture, new venture, and research and development.” None of those terms are defined.
Dale offers a series of nicely guitar-backed podcasts on PlainsTribune.com (“broadcasting live from the corner of Canyon and Jackson”—with a great view of Lookout Mountain!). In an April 4 podcast, Dale says he hopes be ready to circulate petitions by July 4. He’ll be a couple months behind his competition: New Approach is officially kicking off its recreational cannabis petition drive this Saturday in Sioux Falls and gathering signatures at the Earth Day Festival in Rapid City.