A couple of marijuana liberalization advocates are competing for South Dakotans’ signatures on their initiative petitions.
In Sioux Falls Tuesday, New Approach South Dakota got about 30 people to march with its float in the July 4th parade to promote their initiatives on medical cannabis and decriminalization, regulation, and taxation of recreational marijuana. New Approach SD also worked July 4 parades in Belle Fourche and Spearfish. In Spearfish, circulators set up their petition signing table in front of the Sears store downtown:
A few blocks away at 239 W. Jackson, across from Barbacoa’s, John Dale of Spearfish formally launched his own marijuana petition drive at his quonset-shaped home:
Dale’s initiative distinguishes itself from New Approach’s recreational decriminalization initiative by totally repealing almost all legal penalties (except for age restrictions) for the possession, sale, or use of marijuana. Dale’s petition also distinguishes itself from New Approach’s in size:
Dale’s petition appears to be the “beach blanket” petition mentioned during the first two days of meetings of the Legislature’s initiative and referendum task force in Pierre last month. The form on file with the Secretary of State shows what appear to be twelve 8.5″x17″ pages. Dale says he has transferred these pages to a single 32″x42″ sheet, printed only on one side and folded to fit on the custom signing table shown above. Each of Dale’s massive sheets has room for 85 signatures, compared to the more standard 20 signatures on the New Approach recreational marijuana petition.
Dale has converted his front room into the only official, secure signing station for his petition:
My family and I have turned our front room into “signing central”. Inside, we have a “signing station” consisting of an iPad and custom table with the (very large) petition fitting onto it perfectly for signing. With a single volunteer on site, in a predictable environment out of the rain with Internet access where the petitions can be protected, we can take 150 signatures per day. The station can be replicated up-to 8 times in the room we have available, increasing throughput proportionately. Lead time to build out the additional capacity is one afternoon. I have a local database being used (air-gapped) that keeps a master list of signers that will be delivered to the SOS indicating each verified signer, the petition number they signed, and the position on the petition they signed. We will have 100% accuracy in the signatures we turn-in to the SOS should we convince enough people to come to Spearfish and have a legitimate legalization experience. Therefore, we have the capacity to take all the signatures we need in a couple of weeks. However, this could create logistics problems, and I would love to spread that out over the ~120 days we have remaining [John Dale, e-mail to Dakota Free Press, 2017.07.06].
Dale says he is using the South Dakota Voter Information Portal to validate every signature and intends to deliver a “100% accurate petition” to Pierre before the November 6 deadline.