Eric Hagen, the president of Monarch America, said following the verdict that South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley ruined his company with a politically motivated prosecution that he had no jurisdiction to pursue.
“He tanked our company by spreading lies and rumors,” Hagen said. “It was 100 percent politically motivated. This was simply a media ploy for Jackley because he’s running for governor in 2018” [Jonathan Ellis, “Eric Hagen Found Not Guilty in Flandreau Marijuana Trial,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2017.05.24].
Boy, if this prosecution was a media ploy, it just backfired. After squeezing a plea deal out of Hagen’s business partner, Jackley still couldn’t put together a winning case.
Jackboots Jackley Missing out on Real Crime—was that the original headline typed into the content management software?
Ellis uses that nickname with sly indirectness, saying in his final line that the aspiring gubernatorial candidate “does not want to be known as Marty ‘Jackboots’ Jackley.” Ellis is more direct in blasting Jackley’s grandstanding prosecution of two Colorado marijuana consultants involved with the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe’s aborted pot resort:
What few have noticed is this: While Jackley was putting on more stagecraft with the announcement that the Colorado seed guys were busted – along with the ludicrous assertion that the tribe was a victim – there is a serious and growing crime problem in the state. The Minnehaha County sheriff is warning that violent crimes are up dramatically. Media accounts across the state have documented sharp increases in crime.
Jackley has been the attorney general since 2009, and in that time there has been a substantial increase in crime. What is he doing to address the problem? It’s a question that his opponents in the 2018 governor’s race will no doubt ask [Jonathan Ellis, “As Violent Crime Surges Across S.D., Jackley Pursues Pot Growers,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2016.08.06].
The Attorney General scared the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe into burning its pot and scrapping its resort plan. Was that not “mission accomplished” for South Dakota law enforcement, keeping anyone from getting high or hurt? Does the Attorney General really need to turn the screws further on the non-tribal participants in this foiled tribal plan, not to mention hold a big TV press conference and pretend to be a friend of those poor, victimized Indians (whom not so long ago the A.G. was calling liars), when apparently his office has an increasing number of victims of violent crimes who could use the Attorney General’s help.
The GOP pot-black spin blog predictably cries, “Hit piece!” as if calling names is beyond the pale for his Trumpist party. Is Ellis’s broadside against Jackley a jibe from the liberal media? Is it that Sioux Falls paper helping lay the groundwork for its own hometown candidates for Governor? Or is it the simpler explanation: Ellis is accurately describing an Attorney General seeking the bright TV lights to bring out the shine on his jackboots while failing to take real action to stanch an increase in violent crime?
Bob Mercer notes that gambling is expanding in South Dakota. At the end of August, the South Dakota Lottery will offer a new EZ Match instant-win option: pay an extra buck for your lottery ticket, get a shot at an instant payoff of up to $100.
Higher rollers can go to Flandreau for more gambling. The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe and Governor Dennis Daugaard are agreeing to double the number of slot machines at Royal River Casino in Flandreau from 500 to 1,000.
Unlike the current agreement, which simply says the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe “may” contribute some gaming funds to Moody County, the new compact puts a hard financial obligation in writing. If the tribe were to stick with its 500 machines, it would pay Moody County $75,000. That cut increases disproportionately to the number of machines: if the tribe maxes out its slots at 1,000, Moody County gets $350,000. Double the machines, increase the county’s cut by five—if I’m the county, I like that math!
As Legislative candidate, I’m not eager to see more government entities relying on more gambling money to pay for public goods and the increased services necessary to deal with the externalities of gambling, like addiction and bankruptcy. Opposition to increased video lottery is one of four Family Heritage Alliance survey issues on which my District 3 Senate opponent Al Novstrup and I agree. My opposition to gambling does not trump my support for tribal sovereignty—I still wonder how a sovereign tribe has to get permission from the state to expand its business on its territory. And I won’t begrudge any tribe the economic development they can get from separating their white neighbors from their money.
Attorney General Marty Jackley said he is investigating the reported destruction of the tribe’s marijuana crop in November after it suspended plans to legalize marijuana on its reservation.
“I don’t think for a minute that they destroyed $1 million worth of marijuana. I don’t know where that went and it’s an open case. We never shut that case,” Jackley said in an interview with Argus Leader Media. “We never got an opportunity to check what was destroyed” [Dana Ferguson, “Up in Smoke? State Investigating Tribal Marijuana Crop,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2016.04.11].
A pile of weed burns on TV, and Marty the Skeptic says he doesn’t believe the Indians burned what they said they burned. But a fire-resistant safe goes missing from the scene of a white man’s crime, and the Attorney General says the most likely explanation is that the safe evaporated. Selective skepticism, anyone?
Bonus Business Bust: If the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe didn’t burn its stash, they didn’t give it to their business buds to sell. Monarch America, the tribe’s pot-growing partner, is now entering its sixth month of stock-price flatline at zero.
The study circles will be a six week guided program, hosted at various times and places throughout the community. Part of the kickoff event will be gathering data on what days and times work best for participants. Each study circle session is scheduled to last 1.5 to 2 hours and will have two local co-facilitators. The group plans to meet again after the six weeks for a Community Action Forum. The details of that event are yet to be finalized.
For those wanting to better understand how this all came to be and the group’s mission, the name Bridge Flandreau was born from an action step of the book study, which was find a way to fix the Crescent Street bridge which links the city of Flandreau to the Flandreau Indian School. The group felt that the effort to fix the bridge not only applied to the physical bridge, but also to the figurative need to bridge gaps within the community when it comes to cultural understanding and communication [Carleen Wild, “Racism Study Circles—Program Launching January 17,” Moody County Enterprise, 2016.01.12].
You’ve got to love a project hatched from vivid physical metaphor.
Bridge Flandreau has received over four dozen RSVPs. If you’re interested in joining them this afternoon, contact Emily Pieper (listed above in the poster) to see if she can fit another chair in the circles.
Drivers trying to get downwind of the smoke rising from Flandreau yesterday p.m. may have been disappointed: Jonathan Hunt, VP of consulting firm and tribal pot partner Monarch America, says the fire reported near the tribal grow op was wood, not the tribal stash. Hmm… will Monarch and the tribe provide evidence that they have destroyed the marijuana they have grown so far, or should the Highway Patrol be watching for vans hauling contraband out of Moody County to Denver or other markets?
Monarch America shares began the year trying to stay over a dollar; now they’d be lucky to get back to a dime. Monarch stock lost 90% of its already well-diminshed value over the last two weeks, closing Friday at seven tenths of a penny. Hmm… depressed executives… maybe that’s where the Flandreau pot is going.
One of Flandreau’s state legislators, Rep. Mathew Wollmann (R-8/Madison), tells that Sioux Falls paper he’s surprised Flandreau suspended its pot plan, but notes that he’s heard lots of opposition to the tribal toke-up:
“Quite frankly, nine out of 10 people that I’ve spoken to about the issue were not in favor of it,” he said. “I think they had a lot more pushback than they expected. … Maybe they’re waiting for a better environment” [Mark Walker and Katie Nelson, “Flandreau Tribe Temporarily Suspending Marijuana Operations,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2015.11.07].
Attorney General Marty Jackley says the tribe’s suspension of its pot plans is a “positive” step, avoiding the legal snarl sure to ensue if non-Indians buy and use pot on tribal land in violation of South Dakota law. But pro-pot ex-pat Emmett Reistroffer tugs at our holiday heartstrings:
“The attorney general is basically telling me and other South Dakotans who have moved away to states where marijuana is legal that we are technically not allowed to come home for the holidays. If I go to South Dakota for Christmas, just because I have marijuana in my bloodstream, I am a walking felon because I could be charged at any time,” Emmett Reistroffer said, a marijuana advocate living in Denver [“Santee Sioux Tribe Suspends Marijuana Operation,” KELO-TV, 2015.11.07].
Emmett almost got me there… almost. South Dakota isn’t telling our Colorado ex-pats that they can’t come home for the holidays. They just have to be clean when they do and leave the bong at home.
And now the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe is telling them they won’t be able to drop by the casino for a pick-me-up (calm-me-down? chill-me-out?) on New Year’s Eve.
“There are two main reasons for my departure,” Loney wrote in her letter to the school board. “The first is to be closer to family … The other reason is the substantial pay increase teachers of other states receive. Unfortunately, until salary increases occur in Flandreau and statewide, resignations like mine will be a routine occurrence. Geographically, professionally, and financially this opportunity could not be passed up” [Carleen Wild, “How to Hold on to Good People,” Moody County Enterprise, 2015.07.07].
Average teacher pay in South Dakota: $40,023. Average teacher pay in Minnesota: $54,752. Average boost for teachers like Loney jumping the border: 36.8%, $14,729, enough to cover a 30-year mortgage on a $200K house (median home value in Minnesota: $187,000). Flandreau was able to get Loney to ignore those economics for just two years.
Neighboring Colman-Egan has no openings at the moment, but low pay is making it hard for them to recruit teachers and support staff:
Superintendent Tracey Olson feels confident they have all positions filled at Colman-Egan, however, “I know that I have a couple of teachers looking elsewhere due to the high cost of insurance here and the pay. Late resignations after July 1st always put us in a bind more-so than an early one. We have more challenges than just the teaching staff. We are also short a custodian and a bus driver. When applicants find out the salary they are no longer interested” [Wild, 2015.07.07].
Olson, Flandreau superintendent Rick Weber, and Loney all agree that we can’t get around this problem without giving K-12 schools and teachers more money:
[Loney] said that if she was to quit teaching right now and become a scientist, she’d make double her salary and have triple the respect.
“When you tell people you’re a teacher, they say, ‘I’m sorry.’ We need to give respect and honor back to that profession. Part of that is paying them more, understanding what they do and respecting what they do” [Wild, 2015.07.07].
Updated 07:21 CDT: Dang, maybe Rep. Elizabeth May (R-27/Kyle) has the right idea in calling for a special session. Meet August 17, add money to teacher salaries just in time for the beginning of the school year, rectify South Dakota’s long teacher-pay drought. “The urgency of this, we can’t ignore it,” May says. “The immediate issues that need to be addressed are going to be what are we going to do with the teacher shortage to fill these classrooms up” (good!) “and the funding, the mechanism for the funding” (good!) “and we also need to address the state and federal mandates that have been coming down” (uh oh!). Stay tuned for Rep. May’s press conference this morning in Rapid City.
The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe is offering marijuana proponents a chance to toke up before the medical cannabis measure makes the ballot. The tribe voted last week to let folks smoke one joint per visit at a designated facility (House of Hash? Hazy Hogan? TeePee Whee? Let the naming contest begin!). Tribal President Tony Reider talks like Dennis Daugaard and Pat Costello when he tells us the number-one reason for his tribe to promote pot: money!
Reider says the executive committee decided to approve the use of recreational marijuana on the reservation as a new economic opportunity for the tribe.
“The positives are revenue, money and economic development…were talking millions of dollars. It is a great revenue producing machine and opportunity,” Reider said.
The tribe says it is striving to be ahead of the curve, so if marijuana is legalized in the state or nationwide, they’ll already have a supply in place to begin mass distribution.
“We always take every opportunity that hits our table to keep the tribe moving. A lot of times it’s in areas that we use our sovereignty to be able to do that and take advantage of these types of opportunities, because being ahead of the curve is always more profitable than being behind it,” Reider said [Bridget Bennett, “Marijuana on South Dakota Reservation: What You Need to Know,” KSFY-TV, 2015.06.15].