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Noem Embarrasses SD with Inaccurate Claims Against Industrial Hemp in WSJ Op-Ed

Governor Kristi Noem pays her daughter Kennedy $51,250 a year to analyze policy for her. Governor Noem has another five policy advisors, four executive assistants, and three communicators to help her dig through all the data available to inform her policy statements. Add Chief of Policy and Communications Joshua Shields, and the Noem Administration is paying over a million dollars to advisors to make sure the Governor receives, publicizes, and spells correctly the most useful and accurate policy information.

Maybe Kristi can buy these shirts for her entire staff.
Maybe Kristi can buy these shirts for her entire staff.

For a million bucks, you’d expect a gubernatorial policy statement in as prominent a venue as the Wall Street Journal to be a quadruply-checked and reliable piece of information. Instead, KELO-TV’s Michael Geheren, who is lucky if he’s getting paid a twentieth for his journalism of what the Governor’s monster research and writing staff gets, takes less than a day to read Governor Noem’s reassertion in the national press that hemp is bad and finds it rife with questionable and outright false claims.

Geheren identifies eleven key claims in Noem’s anti-hemp essay. He finds three to be accurate:

  • “Across the country, states that have legalized hemp are struggling to enforce marijuana regulations.”
  • “Hemp and marijuana look and smell the same.”
  • “Law enforcement official tells Ohio station it’s not possible for a human being to distinguish between hemp and marijuana. “

Geheren labels three other claims “inaccurate”:

  • “Police officers can’t tell the difference between them during a traffic stop.”

While it is difficult to distinguish by just looking at the plant, there are tools law enforcement can use to determine if there is THC.

Virginia is at least one state using field tests that allow officers to tell the difference between the two in just minutes.

…Gov. Noem is correct when saying South Dakota officers don’t currently have the tools to tell the difference. Her administration demonstrated that earlier this year.

However, a field test is available and being used by law enforcement in the United States – so the claim overall is false [Michael Geheren, “Fact-Checking Noem’s Wall Street Journal Letter,” KELO-TV, 2019.09.10].

  • “A full crime analysis results take weeks.”

In Omaha, the crime lab the city works with takes 24 hours to four days to complete tests, according to KETV-TV.

The Omaha Lab has a GC-mass spectrometer.

“This is an established, well-proven scientific method,” said Omaha City Prosecutor Matt Kuhse to KETV [Geheren, 2019.09.10].

  • “Without the ability to test the level of THC in a plant, labs can’t provide useful scientific evidence for use in court.”

Labs can test the level of THC in a plant, as outlined in claims 6, 7 and 8 [Geheren, 2019.09.10].

Geheren questions four other claims:

  • “Many crime labs are unable to distinguish between the two plants.”

Many crime labs can do this testing. For example, in Omaha the crime lab can detect it. The City of Omaha uses University of Nebraska Medical Center as its crime lab.

A search of news stories from across the country shows many labs have the equipment; they just need to validate their procedures of testing.

  • “Crime labs can detect THC, but can’t determine how much is there.”

The DEA has developed a way to test for THC in the plant. Basically, it will test for THC (above 1%).

Texas plans to use this method in 2020.

  • “The technology exists, but it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

In response, Geheren cites a Texas system that costs $30,000 plus a software subscription of $20 to $50 per test and a Minnesota system that costs $80 per test.

  • “Since Texas passed an industrial hemp law in June, prosecutors have dropped hundreds of marijuana cases and have stopped accepting new ones until more-accurate tests are available.”

Geheren responds that “This isn’t a universal policy across Texas.” He notes that one county is continuing prosecutions, two counties are requiring lab tests to prove illegal THC levels, and another says cases are being placed on standby, not dropped.

Finally, Geheren brands as “opinion” Governor Noem’s claim that “Any case of suspected marijuana possession in states with legal hemp requires this expensive and time-consuming tests.” This argument against legalizing hemp in South Dakota is non-unique, says Geheren, because the 2018 Farm Bill that Noem voted for already authorizes transportation of hemp across South Dakota and anywhere else in the United States.

Three claims accurate, three claims false, and four claims easily shaken—if Team Noem were playing baseball, that record might get them re-upped with the Twins. But in any real job, 30% reliability is grounds for remedial training, if not dismissal.

That’s not a call for impeachment, legislators. Just let Governor Noem and her enormous staff sit there in their wrongness and be wrong. But when you take up the industrial hemp debate again this January, you can dismiss the claims of the Governor and her blue-badged lobbyists and rely on the results of your own research and testimony from the public. Governor Noem may have questions, but she clearly doesn’t have (or want) reliable answers.


  1. o 2019-09-11 08:15

    If, at a traffic stop, the said questionable substance is rolled up into cigarettes, would that be an indication that the substance is marijuana and not hemp? If the car is hazy with smoke, would that also be a sign?

  2. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-11 09:35

    Great, then hemp supporters should have no problem paying for those systems for the police to use. That expense probably gets passed onto the consumer though.

  3. Porter Lansing 2019-09-11 12:26

    I saw your Governor referred to on Twitter as #GardenGnoem, however I’ll not insult her like that.
    Accurate information seems to be lacking and that’s understandable. SD people have good reason to be paranoid. It’s in the state’s interest to arrest as many as possible for the smallest amount possible for revenue growth.
    So … here’s where interested citizens can get email updates on the real issues in the cannabis/hemp industry. (legalized banking – poisoned vape pens – grass roots vs big business petition drives – Why John Boehner and Rob Gronkowski are no working in the business etc.)
    ~ The cannabis boom in America is real and growing. A diverse group of patients, veterans, bankers, law enforcement officers and many others supporting cannabis reform demonstrates a fundamental shift in our culture. 93 percent of Americans support cannabis marijuana reform and a strong majority support adult use. There are billions of dollars in new tax revenues on the line. There is the promise of almost a million jobs. New medical research gives hope to suffering patients. It’s vital that politicians respond to the overwhelming public sentiment for cannabis reform.
    *NEW SOURCE OF ALL THINGS CANNABIS INFORMATION (sign up now for accurate data emails)

  4. kj trailer trash 2019-09-11 12:45

    Wouldn’t it be great if you could wave a magic wand and make reactionary right-wing Republican backwards conservatives suddenly realize how absolutely ridiculous their beliefs and policies are, and how huge of a continuing embarrassment they are to their state? I wonder who “pissed on Kristi Noem’s Cheerios” about pot way back. Did she have a blind date where a pothead guy treated her poorly? Or, more likely, she’s an old-line grumpy old male redneck in a youngish-middle-aged-woman’s body, the kind of person who hears that someone smoked one joint in their lives, and then says “(so and so) got on dope.” She, and all rednecks, need to realize that people use pot the way others use alcohol: as a relaxing agent. They don’t (generally) run around killing people when on pot; in fact the worst they usually ever do is giggle too much or make their friends listen to crappy sappy music. Lighten up, Kristi.
    Putting any pro-pot arguments aside, for crying out loud, Kristi, as Cory says, do your homework. In addition to the arguments put forth by Cory, there’s also one glaringly obvious way to tell whether someone is hauling hemp seeds or crops, or hauling illegal marijuana: the hemp-hauler would have a permit (which the state would use the cost of to help defray any law enforcement testing costs), and would be doing the hauling openly, whereas the pot smuggler would be trying to hide their sins and wouldn’t get the permits.
    I don’t know enough about the “wonders of hemp” to fully advocate for it as a cash crop for SD, but, in light of trump’s idiotic tariffs’ strangleholds on our farmers’ abilities to make a living, wouldn’t it be the obvious choice to help farmers develop a new (harmless, legal) way of making a living? Orrrrrrr, in typical Republican fashion, we could push nepotism, push corruption, bow to the big money waved at us by CAFO advocates without regard to pollution or stench, throw money at our rich corporate farm buddies and withhold it from anyone else, especially from small farmers,….. etc. Republicans disgust me. Kristi Noem is an EXCRUCIATING embarrassment to South Dakota. Her proclamations for us to pray for weather relief, by themselves, show us to still be a totally backwards state, and are a slap in the face to the separation of church and state, as is her insistence on putting “In God We Trust” on school walls. She’s so backwards, that, if it weren’t for her proclivity for breaking the speed limit (her only good quality), I’m surprised she doesn’t advocate for tearing up the interstates and putting us in horse-drawn buggies.

  5. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-11 13:16

    If you want to consider medical use for qualified patients (i.e. based on symptoms, history, etc.), without smoking, then I am open to that…particularly for pain relief in patients or peer-reviewed medical research.

    But I don’t believe legalizing marijuana because other states do it is a good enough reason to do so. I don’t think because tobacco and alcohol are legal is a good enough reason for marijuana to be legal.

    There are health issues down the road with marijuana just as there are for those who smoke cigarettes. If not literally on the road due to driving under the influence.

    “Researchers found that car accidents in Colorado increased 10% after legalization, and increases in alcohol abuse and overdoses that resulted in injury or death increased by 5%. ”

    And we do not have to wait for tomorrow…e-cigarettes are impacting both tobacco and marijuana users right now.

    “CDC, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments, and other clinical and public health partners are investigating a multistate outbreak of severe pulmonary disease associated with e-cigarette product (devices, liquids, refill pods, and/or cartridges) use. This investigation is ongoing and has not identified a cause, but all reported cases have a history of using e-cigarette products.

    E-cigarettes are devices that deliver an aerosol to the user by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. E-cigarettes can also be used to deliver marijuana or other substances.”

  6. bearcreekbat 2019-09-11 13:24

    While it may be soothing to oppose legalization even though other states have legalized it or because alcohol and tobacco are legal, how about this:

    We should legalize marijuana so we stop jailing young people anc harmless elders for behavior that hurts no one else, saddling them with felonies that can ruin future job prospects no matter what changes they have made in their lives, and essentially wrecking their lives with a policy that has proven entirely ineffective.

  7. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-11 13:34

    Second-hand smoke does harm other people. Driving under the influence harms other people.

  8. Porter Lansing 2019-09-11 13:43

    BCB realizes one of the main reasons Colorado has the number one economy in America. Companies move here so their employee’s kids won’t get branded as felonious dopers for possession of a joint, thus affecting their financial lives needlessly. I don’t want my kid anywhere near SD and the vast majority of normal people feel the same way.

  9. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-11 13:51

    “Another report finds that for every dollar Colorado earns from legal weed, the state is spending $4.50 to combat public health and safety issues. ”

    “…legal states are coming out of the gate generating high dollar tax collections, but the take is eventually getting lighter.”

    So whatever you want to believe about marijuana, it is not an economic panacea.

    Luckily for you Porter, the drivers for Colorado’s economy do not depend on marijuana use. Colorado has a pretty diverse economy, and it has larger population centers too.

  10. mike from iowa 2019-09-11 14:04

    Doc, you shouldn’t have a problem paying for small nukular reactors, right?

    Isn’t there a saying about keeping yer mouth shut so not everyone knows you are a fool and does it apply to Noem in the instance?

  11. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-11 14:21

    Me personally…yes, I would have a problem paying for a small nuclear reactor.

    Bernie said that he spent $15-$18K on his home solar system, and I would have a problem paying for that too.

    Good news mike, you know exactly where she stands. The governor has the ability to veto legislation. And if the Legislature cannot come up with enough votes to overturn that, some may say that such a result reflects the will of the general population. You may disagree with that, but that is what the situation is.

    And I don’t hear anyone on the blog who is willing to forego marijuana legalization in order to approve hemp as a crop to help agriculture or accrue monies for the state. For better or worse, the two are linked until you find a way to un-link them.

  12. bearcreekbat 2019-09-11 14:52

    Gee, I wonder if there might be a way to prevent unwilling individuals from being exposed to second hand marijuana smoke other than making criminals out of those who smoke?

    As for DUI, is it logical to make criminals out of folks who don’t imbibe and drive just because some folks violate the DUI laws?

    The real point is that talk about “legalization” obscures the draconian impact of “criminalization.” So rather than ask “can I support ‘legalization’ of marijuana,” an honest person would ask “can I support the continued incarceration and destruction of otherwise innocent lives that flows from making marijuana users into criminals and felons, with all the lifelong harm flowing from such a designation?”

    If the answer “yes” to the second question squirts your pickle, then so be it – fear either has overrun your rational thought or you just don’t care about other people.

  13. Porter Lansing 2019-09-11 14:55

    Those studies reprinted in Forbes without any links to their origin are invalid. They’re from the biased Colorado Christian University. The study asserts that every teen that drops out of school is because they tried marijuana and it created a void of dedication. Then they determine the money that kid would have made had he/she stayed in school and call that a loss to Colorado. No wonder the opinion article in Forbes wouldn’t say where the study originated.
    These stories are rampant. So is the one from the fake Dr. in Pueblo, CO. Doesn’t matter. Know why?
    Because “That’s that on that.” :)

  14. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-11 15:53

    I’ve had this convo with others before about edibles. I don’t like the idea at all, but edibles at least do not generate second hand smoke. But be honest bcb….efforts to legalize marijuana have not restricted themselves to edibles.

    Not taking individuals off the road who are driving under the influence really means you place the ability to imbibe over the safety of others. So you’ll have to square that circle on your own.

    I have suggested that an attempt be made to remove marijuana from having any influence on the approval of industrial hemp.

    Porter, Sorry that I wasn’t aware of your pre-approved list of sites prior to posting a link, and sorry for bothering to try and post a link. Driving while under the influence is STILL wrong for alcohol and wrong for marijuana. Second hand smoke is wrong for tobacco and wrong for marijuana.

  15. jerry 2019-09-11 16:53

    Funny that GNOem voted for hemp several times in the Farm Bill. Also funny that Rounds and Thune were all in on hemp as well. They all just got bested by a lying liar. Funny.

    We don’t need the money, farmers certainly don’t need it. We will get the money by raising park fees…yeah, that’s the ticket. Let the other states make the billions, hell, we wouldn’t know what to do with it as it would come legally. South Dakota leaders can only see money as a means of corruption for their pockets and no one else’s.

  16. jerry 2019-09-11 16:58

    Meanwhile, China still controls the US stock market with rumors.

  17. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-11 17:04

    Are you saying that she actually sponsored a pro-hemp amendment in the Farm Bill, or did she vote for the entire Farm Bill that just happened to have some hemp language in it?

  18. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-11 17:16

    “The Trump administration said Wednesday it plans to ban the sale of non-tobacco-flavored electronic cigarettes amid a vaping crisis.”

    “This is great news for our kids, our families, and our overall public health,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer [Michigan] said in a statement. “Right now, companies are getting our kids hooked on nicotine by marketing flavors like apple juice, bubble gum, and candy.” “

  19. Porter Lansing 2019-09-11 17:33

    What is this supposed to mean, McTag? Porter, Sorry that I wasn’t aware of your pre-approved list of sites prior to posting a link, and sorry for bothering to try and post a link.
    – Post only accurate links from reputable sources. You should have simply GOOGLED, ” Another report finds that for every dollar Colorado earns from legal weed, the state is spending $4.50 to combat public health and safety issues. ” You’d have seen the first answer that told you it was a fraudulent report.

  20. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-11 18:00

    No worries…I found the article on Forbes by googling. You are welcome.

  21. Pbutler 2019-09-11 18:10

    When I was fourteen I worked in the Iowa corn fields detassling. At the end of a row one day I came upon some remnant hemp along a drainage, likely leftover from when a previous landowner was growing it legally because it was in high demand as a fiber. I picked some and tried to smoke it that evening. Take my word for it, it’s NOT the same as marijuana. I just got a headache.

  22. Mark 2019-09-11 20:12

    I have said it before, and I will say it again….

    The DOPE is in Pierre.

  23. Debbo 2019-09-11 20:55

    I wish I could get notified of future comments without having to put something, anything, in this field. Just sayin.

    Sorry to interrupt. Please continue. 😊

  24. Robert Kolbe 2019-09-11 20:58

    Just like DJT. She is not always wrong, just generally.

  25. John Dale 2019-09-11 22:15

    bearcreekbat – “We should legalize marijuana so we stop jailing young people anc harmless elders for behavior that hurts no one else, saddling them with felonies that can ruin future job prospects no matter what changes they have made in their lives, and essentially wrecking their lives with a policy that has proven entirely ineffective.”

    This is an issue where we have some common ground.

    Noem has the issue wrong, seems to be waiting till her family can lock-in the crop insurance?

    I’m fund raising to get to Pierre for the next session so I can speak to legalization.

    I hope you’ll consider supporting that effort.

  26. John Dale 2019-09-11 22:17

    Also, anyone who aligns with us on this issue should text keyword REEFER to 605 309 7007

    We have hundreds of folks who have come on board with us, and we’re verifying registrations to push for legalization.

    We won’t spend the money gathering signatures until we have a critical mass (17,000) of verified voter registrations in our system.

    If you are willing to put your signature on a petition and you are a registered voter, you should have no problem texting REEFER to 605 309 7007 to get started with the verification process for FULL LEGALIZATION.

  27. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-11 22:43

    If one could grow and process industrial hemp without promoting the legalization of marijuana at all, and include a thorough testing and oversight regime, industrial hemp would stand a much better chance of approval in this state.

    Would you say that the legalization of marijuana is therefore the higher priority?

  28. Porter Lansing 2019-09-11 22:50

    In SD legalization is a dead issue. The Governor won’t allow it. Thus, the only issue with legs is hemp. It would help farmers. Legal weed is not going anywhere.
    PS … All due respect to your work with nukes, Doc. Keep up the work. It may be on the table, eventually.

  29. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-11 23:04

    There is a way to get there, but hemp needs to be allowed to be just another crop and succeed or fail on its own merits. Marijuana legalization is getting in the way of that at the moment.

  30. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-09-12 06:34

    One can make moonshine out of corn, but Nome hasn’t banned that cash crop yet.

  31. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-09-12 06:36

    Indeed, as O notes, there are plenty of signals that one is engaged in drug use rather than agriculture.

    But then if South Dakotans can’t tell the difference between a dope and an effective governor, perhaps South Dakota law enforcement can’t tell the difference between dope and industrial hemp.

  32. John Dale 2019-09-12 08:37

    Robert McTaggart – “Would you say that the legalization of marijuana is the higher priority?”

    Porter Lansing – “the only issue with legs is hemp”

    In our initiative text, we use the language Cannabis spp – this scientific nomenclature covers industrial hemp, all of the medicinal and therapeutic oils, and the psychoactive flower.

    Legalization of Cannabis (despite the AG’s misleading official summary which only references Marijuana), the CC4L initiative legalizes everything and, in the process, only creates bureaucracy for larger industrial producers through the department of agriculture. Overages in fees collected from this are granted to small farmers. This is the same basic architecture we will keep pushing for because the misconceptions obviated by our research do not withstand fair and open debate.

    If the governor is threatening Hemp, will she legalize medicinal, knowing that she and the state police can keep a ham-fisted control over the means of production and distribution, when in reality the black market will thrive under medicinal use, anyway?

    Rather than shuck-and-jive, slight of hand strategies through hemp and medicinal, let’s just be straight forward and ask the people and state officials for what we really want; the right to produce and use all forms cannabis as we see fit and even sell it at the farmers’ market?

  33. gayle lee suderman 2019-09-12 11:02

    I think Noem should make legal the use of hemp. It’s a no – brainer !!!

  34. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-12 12:26

    Approving hemp really demands stopping the promotion of marijuana/cannabis over hemp or the promotion of marijuana/cannabis with hemp. And it demands the tools to tell them apart at any point. That’s the politics.

    If that is settled and hemp is approved, and then it fails or succeeds in the market, then so be it.

    Ultimately, legalizing marijuana/cannabis and promoting health care are at odds with each other. It’s like the pharmacies such as CVS who delivered medicines and health care but also used to sell cigarettes.

    It runs counter to one of the key messages that Democrats need in the upcoming election…better health care. They shouldn’t pursue policies that will require more health care that could be avoided.

  35. John L Kushman 2019-09-12 12:31

    As soon as you will be able to buy crop insurance on hemp she will legalize it so her family will be able to cash in again. She believes we’re all ignorant to the facts! We NEED a more honest and intelligent person to govern our great, could be greater state.

  36. John Dale 2019-09-12 12:49

    Robert McTaggart – “Approving hemp really demands stopping the promotion of marijuana/cannabis over hemp or the promotion of marijuana/cannabis with hemp”

    Can you describe the mechanism by which this is true?

    In my opinion, half measures and compromise invites more bullying, and sleight of hand tactics invite the same from the controlling body.

    Focusing only on hemp with no work toward full legalization could delay full legalization by decades. It is already legal to possess hemp based textile products and raw materials.

    Noem already killed SD farmers chances of participating meaningfully in the hemp market as a core producer of hemp.

    At this point my advice to SD farmers is to convert strategies to value-add to hemp fiber (make stuff, design stuff, use connections to get value added products into the supply chain).

    Then, in turn, push for what is right; full legalization.

  37. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-12 12:50


    Moonshine is not legal to consume, and it does not adhere to any safety protocols or quality controls that legalization should guarantee.

  38. o 2019-09-12 12:52

    I LOVE the marijuana debate because it hi-lights the hypocrisy of many of our other policies (alcohol and lottery for example).

    I think we have to look at the history of the “get tough on drugs” policies in the US and realize: 1) it has put thousands of non-violent offenders behind bars, 2) it has not made any real dent in use, 3) it has empowered criminal enterprise, and 4) it has had racist overtones.

    Profiteering private prisons, and those who skim from that pond (including politicians) need to have their motives truly publicly questioned.

  39. o 2019-09-12 12:57

    Robert: “Ultimately, legalizing marijuana/cannabis and promoting health care are at odds with each other. It’s like the pharmacies such as CVS who delivered medicines and health care but also used to sell cigarettes.”

    Agreed! BUT, isn’t health care also at odds with alcohol, cigarettes/tobacco, vaping, food additives – especially sugar . . . Why is marijuana singled out as the substance with adverse health effects we stand against?

  40. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-12 14:27

    Marijuana should not be legal just because alcohol and tobacco are. Why dig the hole any deeper than it has to be?

    It is more of a libertarian argument to go ahead and do what you want as long as you don’t hurt anyone. However, second hand smoke and driving under the influence affect others. Long term use of smoking anything, including marijuana, increases health care costs that get passed along to non-smokers. Declaring health care to be free doesn’t solve that problem.

    With regard to personal freedom, if I don’t want to smoke marijuana, and a bunch of people light up on the corner, I don’t get to choose any more. Edibles get rid of the second hand smoke argument, but efforts to legalize marijuana do not focus solely on that.

    Sugar is interesting o, because it is both naturally produced and it is man-made…and our cells use sugar to generate energy. It is the overconsumption and oversupply of sugar that is the issue. We can actually survive without smoking tobacco or marijuana, or drinking alcohol.

  41. John Dale 2019-09-12 14:38

    Robert McTaggart – Marijuana was made illegal not because it is heroin-like, but because hemp was a threat to big timber, and the eventually-called DEA was in need of a demon after de-prohibition.

    Think of cannabis as an important cognitive nutrient that allows people to understand complex systems. Without it, complex systems of crime and exploitation can go largely unnoticed. If true (and it is true), police and investigators should be using Cannabis every day.

    Cannabis prohibition is a GREAT BIG LIE:

    You’re correct, smoking cannabis is for the birds. I’d prefer to have it on my pizza.

  42. o 2019-09-12 14:41


    For me it is not libertarianism, but consistency in our policy view. What is unique to marijuana that it should be illegal while cigaretts/tobacco/vaping and alcohol are not?

    I agree that driving under the influence, any influence ought to be illegal (and I support that influence to include cell phones). You bring up smoking as driving up health care costs (and you are right, of course), but alcohol and especially sugar are doing the exact same thing and we not only have legal access to tobacco and sugar, their production is subsidized in the US! We pay to have people exposed to harmful elements and drive up health care costs. Again, so what is the argument to exclude marijuana from this current policy mixed messaging?

    Sugar certainly is natural — as is tobacco, marijuana, and alcohol. We regulate carcinogens in our food to protect our health, but at the same time promote the saturation of sugar in our food which also hurts health. We create food with NO nutritional value. “Energy” does not justify sugar consumption or integration into the food supply at the levels we see now. We certainly can survive with NO added sugar to our diets.

    And we still have not addressed the astronomical costs of incarceration and the racist elements of anti-marijuana policy.

  43. John Dale 2019-09-12 15:01

    o – according to the LRC’s fiscal note on the CC4L initiative, SD would save $3,100,000 NET if our initiative were ratified as SD law. That is just prison/jail costs, and does not include the scope of effort to police.

    Sugar and Codeen both cause sloth that can impair drivers. Therefore, beyond a warning on the bottle, CBD/CBG/THC should not be regulated anywhere near alcohol. Rather, like Benadryl, the bottle should contain warnings. If a driver is impaired, it will be up to the officer to determine that upon inspection.

    In my opinion, all other solutions are simply fomenting overreaching power (a drug that should be regulated more, IMHO).

  44. bearcreekbat 2019-09-12 15:20

    As it relates to legal alcohol and tobacco McTaggart asks:

    Why dig the hole any deeper than it has to be?

    What exactly is this deep “hole?” Is it premised on the theory that people who legally use tobacco or alcohol are a scourge upon society?

    And as for preventing unwanted exposure to second hand smoke, I suggest our current prohibition against smoking substances in public places is a better solution than destroying lives with criminal convictions and incarceration for the act of smoking marijuana in private or among consenting adults.

  45. Porter Lansing 2019-09-12 15:21

    Did you know? Washington and Trump can regulate e-cigarettes but can’t regulate marijuana vaping devices. That’s because you can’t regulate something that’s illegal. Marijuana must be made legal across America, in order to protect us all. (Like in CO and CA, each county and town must vote on retail sales). FYI – 75% of California and 90% of Colorado voted against marijuana sales.

  46. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-12 16:14

    Well….the deep hole is certainly not the deep borehole…but at some point you have to stop digging.

    If someone gets initial warnings and reduced sentences for illegal activities, and the illegal activities continue and/or escalate in part because that person thinks it should not be illegal…then the penalties have to escalate too.

    The good news is that in the above scenario, one can avoid penalties by choosing not to engage in illegal activities.

    If you are talking about automatic sentencing guidelines with little wiggle room at sentencing, that can be a different story.

  47. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-12 16:21


    If it is illegal, then it is buyer beware. No quality control, no safety standards, no third party testing. The consumer can always choose not to use an illegal device.

    Just like if Trump rolls back car efficiency standards, consumers can always choose to buy a vehicle with a better gas mileage on their own…regardless of what Trump does.

  48. John Dale 2019-09-12 16:26

    Robert McTaggart – at some point, government overreach necessitates conscientious objection and (hopefully) jury nullification.

    If, for instance, the government outlawed food and water, would you take the same stance?

    The prohibition of cannabis (hemp, upon which the US constitution is WRITTEN) is, in my view, criminal and treasonous and meant to dumb down the population and lower our defenses and decrease our freedoms.

    The government, like Spearfish Creek, remains the same, but constantly has new people flowing through it. Some are good. Some are cannabis prohibitionists. This is why I am for limited power of government to enact tyrannical legislation like prohibition of cannabis by fiat (FDA is unelected, determines prohibited status of cannabis).

    If I am reading South Dakota Codified Law correctly, if Cannabis was UN (not DE) scheduled, it would be legal in South Dakota, or at least would need to be reconsidered in a sprawling body of cannabis-related legislation.

    I think congress should do with cannabis what they did with alcohol .. end the debate with an Amendment to re-legalize the stuff upon which the Bill of Rights was WRITTEN!

    The denseness of Christie Noem to wave the flag, then prohibit cannabis, out of which the original nation’s flags was knitted, is ignorance on an obscene scale.

  49. Mary Brink 2019-09-12 16:42

    Governor Noem, we want to believe you are our leader. SD is a good State to raise children and it could be great under your direction. Please educate yourself on hemp, it could be a good source of revenue not to mention open new ideas for jobs while boosting the economy.

  50. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-12 16:47

    If you are politically protesting the laws by breaking them, then don’t be surprised that you have to serve the time.

    The good news is that you are afforded first amendment rights to argue for a different policy, which can be done without breaking any laws. You have the opportunity to convince others of your position. Sorry, that may take a while….but that is democracy for you.

  51. Porter Lansing 2019-09-12 16:50

    McTags … Colorado has laws in place that protect our customers. Colorado cannabis products are the finest, safest, and purest of any in the world. Kentucky has bourbon. California has wine. Colorado has cannabis. It’s appellation controlled.

  52. John Dale 2019-09-12 16:54

    “If you are politically protesting the laws by breaking them..”

    Haven’t we all broken several laws every day, likely without even knowing about it?

    Perfect example – how does one legally purchase cannabis in CO without breaking federal law? Do state laws supersede federal laws? Unconstitutional federal laws?

  53. Porter Lansing 2019-09-12 17:00

    Wisconsin has cheese and South Dakota has gambling in gas stations. That’s probably enough for you folks to be proud of.

  54. Porter Lansing 2019-09-12 17:45

    That’s just a joke but gambling in gas stations is something you don’t see just everywhere. What does SD have more of than almost anywhere else? I’d say “discipline”. It’s where the majority can derive enjoyment from denying themselves enjoyment. Just imagining going out and blowing $500 bucks on a Friday night can be as fun as actually doing it, huh? Reminds me of what is said about Utah folks when BYU goes to Vegas to play UNLV in football. They say, they come with a ten dollar bill in one hand and ten commandments in the other and don’t intend to break either one.

  55. bearcreekbat 2019-09-12 17:47

    McTaggart, after reading your comments for a long time, especially flippant statements about “the deep borehole,” I have to conclude that you will not change your position regarding decriminalization of marijuana regardless of whatever factual matters are presented to you. You appear to have taken the position, “my mind is made up so don’t try to confuse me with facts,” so I won’t.

    I will say this. My mind is not made up and I am open to any and all reasonable arguments for imprisoning people who are involved with marijuana. As you can tell from my earlier comments, I have yet to hear or read any old or new fact that helps me understand why any society ought to punish marijuana involvement with criminal penalties. My comments have raised the problems I see with this position. but I remain open to any fact that supports the view that criminalization makes the most sense. Given your strong contrary views I invite you to present facts that will help me understand why so far my acceptance of the decriminalization position is a mistake.

    Here are some of the problems I have encountered:

    – it would seem that second hand tobacco smoke issues have pretty much been resolved with policies about when and where one can smoke tobacco. The same solution could be applied to marijuana. What am I missing?

    – driving under the influence of alcohol will result in criminal punishment. Why won’t that solution work for marijuana?

    – Marijuana has been labeled a unique highly addictive gateway substance, but it is my understanding this is a factually incorrect statement based on current research, which finds that marijuana is not addictive and is no more a gateway drug than legal substances. Have you found alternative factual information from credible sources indicating the research I reference is mistaken?

    And just to clarify, I have no vested interest in the outcome of this argument as I do not smoke tobacco, drink alcohol nor eat or smoke marijuana. However, I value factually correct and rational public policy that doesn’t unnecessary hurt individuals and from what I can tell making people criminals merely because they have some involvement with marijuana seems to be supported by neither facts nor reason. Help me understand the error in my current analysis.

  56. mike from iowa 2019-09-12 17:53

    Am I missing something, Doc? Until a law has been adjudicated by the SCOTUS, it is still unsettled law. That is what I was raised up believing.

  57. John Dale 2019-09-12 18:00

    “Utah folks when BYU goes to Vegas to play UNLV in football. They say, they come with a ten dollar bill in one hand and ten commandments in the other and don’t intend to break either one.”

    Now that’s funny right there.

  58. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-12 19:23


    Thanx for expressing my opinions for me.

    I dispute that smoking marijuana is harmless to others, particularly because of secondhand smoke. Nothing I have seen on this blog has changed my mind in that regard.

    “Secondhand marijuana smoke contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects, and many of the same toxic chemicals in smoked tobacco.”

    Driving under the influence can cause harm to other people, and the marijuana smoker. Sure, the DUI laws can be applied to marijuana as they are to alcohol….but that wasn’t my point: Marijuana smoking is not harmless. No marijuana smoking or alcohol consumption, no driving under the influence.

    If you want to argue whether it is less harmful compared to other things…go for it. But you cannot say it is harmless.

    With regard to addiction, CDC quotes the following at .

    “Is it possible for someone to become addicted to marijuana?

    Yes, about 1 in 10 marijuana users will become addicted. For people who begin using younger than 18, that number rises to 1 in 6.”

    You may have to check with Porter first before deciding whether the CDC is a reputable source…

  59. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-12 19:40

    By the way, smoke particles are great at attracting Radon, and it doesn’t matter whether you are smoking cannabis or tobacco.

    Thus if you adhere to an “all radiation levels contribute to cancer” approach, smoking marijuana increases the radiation dose to your lungs and other people’s lungs from Radon exposure.

    Therefore, I would advise marijuana smokers to have their homes mitigated for Radon, or to stop smoking indoors. Radon levels outdoors are low, but indoors can be a different story.

  60. John Dale 2019-09-12 19:55

    “No marijuana smoking or alcohol consumption, no driving under the influence.”


    That you do not believe these things are debatable is sad.

    Nothing in Cannabis is addictive. Habit forming is a better description.

    There is no detoxification process or withdrawal symptoms when a heavy user quits cold turkey.

    This is fact, unless the black market marijuana is laced with something addictive.

    Relative to other over the counter available substances, there is very little evidence indicating marijuana is more dangerous for driving than codeine or large amounts of fructose, also known to cause sloth and fatigue (crash).

    The facts informing the CDC policies are an extension of reefer madness.


    I would love to debate this in the legislature.

  61. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-12 20:08

    So do you agree that secondhand smoke causes harm to others, DUI causes harm to others, and that you increase your Radon exposure by smoking marijuana?

    1 in 10 is not a high rate for addiction, but it is not zero.

  62. John Dale 2019-09-12 20:38

    Nobody is addicted to Cannabis .. people are addicted to caffeine.

    Even if it was addictive, in a way, so is water. It’s a question of harm of the activity.

    I’ve heard studies that Cigarettes are more addictive than Heroine. Yet, I can buy those at the corner store.

    No argument for cannabis prohibition can be won unless the informed opposition is cut-out of the argument.

    If someone wanted to decrease Radon danger, providing free detectors and mitigation funding for homeowners in traditionally high radon areas would be a better use of the extra $3,100,000 in 2018 we spent putting cannabis users behind bars.

  63. Certain Inflatable Recreational Devices 2019-09-12 20:42

    McTaggart would fit in well with the 105 members of the SoDak legislature, at least those with whom I have dealt in 30 years of lobbying the legislature to bring some sanity to SoDak’s “drug” laws. Most have no interest in facts.

  64. Certain Inflatable Recreational Devices 2019-09-12 20:47

    By the way, I am currently smoking cannabis at a motel in Bridgeport NE. So are some other folks out in the parking lot. I suspect that if a cop happened to drive through the lot, (s)he’d wave at us.

  65. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-12 21:00

    Yes, I would agree that mitigation helps, but the lowest risk comes from not smoking in a mitigated home. I would also agree that mitigation for public housing should be provided.

    And yes, smoking marijuana causes harm to others via secondhand smoke.

  66. o 2019-09-12 21:00

    Again, I want consistency: if we are banning marijuana because it is addictive (and I am on the fence if we should use “addicted” or “habit forming” here) then we should ban tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, opiates and video lottery to name few legalized vices we are allowed to become addicted to — even pushed into addiction by favorable policies.

    It’s not government overreach, its not libertarianism, just a request for consistency in our policy.

  67. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-12 21:07

    The fact that secondhand smoke causes harm to others runs counter to the mantra that smoking cannabis is harmless.

  68. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-12 21:14

    I don’t really care whether it is addictive or not. The numbers show that the addictive power is relatively low, particularly with respect to nicotine.

    The facts are that smoking impacts the health of others without their consent. Supporters ignore that and place a higher priority on the ability to smoke as a cause for personal freedom.

  69. John Dale 2019-09-12 21:20

    “smoking cannabis is harmless”

    Consider the issue in context. Living next to a busy road has measurable effects on IQ and health outcomes for children.

    The reason people smoke is because it is more illegal to process cannabis into a safer consumable form!

    “the lowest risk comes from not smoking in a mitigated home” — can you cite a source on this? Semantically, does it mean “a parent who smokes in the home with the children present without adequate ventilation”?

    The issue is nuanced and requires a more sensical solution than has been crafted by the current body of “spaghetti”, scatter-shot legislation that is base on outright lies regarding the “dangers” of cannabis.

    I read a study recently about the byproduct of cooking meat in the home without proper ventilation. This is very dangerous! Yet, where is the outrage from the legislature directed at property owners, managers and landlords? The “smog” from running the oven with a roast is like living in DOWNTOWN LA.

    Let’s get at the really dangerous stuff, first.

  70. jerry 2019-09-12 21:22

    Beer industry tycoons have probably been lobbying GNOem to make her forget her support for hemp while she was apparently lying about support for the Farm Bill. The swamp is right here in South Dakota

  71. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-12 21:34

    If you are a non-smoker in a mitigated home, you experience a lower risk of lung cancer due to Radon exposure.

    Tobacco actually adds more radionuclides because of the nature of the plant and the use of man-made fertilizers that are enriched in uranium progeny. I think marijuana is a bioaccumulator of heavier elements, so it should pick those up as well.

    They have a chart for smokers and non-smokers that you can compare (scroll down).

  72. John Dale 2019-09-12 21:51

    Yes. Smoking anything is bad; banana peels, tobacco, cannabis.

    Breathing in bad things will cause lung cancer especially in weakened individuals (weak gut wall, lowered immune systems): diesel byproduct impregnated road dust, smog, radon.

    One of the worse ways to use Cannabis is to smoke it .. but smoking is convenient and “more legal” than cooking it or distilling it.

    It is an unintended consequence of prohibition that it causes at least two health crises:

    1 – pesticides from cartel grown cannabis is distributed widely in the US

    2 – safter methods of ingestion are less legal

  73. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-12 22:13

    “Yes. Smoking anything is bad; banana peels, tobacco, cannabis.”

    Finally. That was like pulling jerry away from watching Rachel Maddow on youtube ;^).

    Edibles have their own issues, but they do not impact others unless you are driving when you should not be, or someone makes a mistake and consumes them instead of the regular cookies.

  74. John Dale 2019-09-12 22:28

    I conceded that at 14:38

    “You’re correct, smoking cannabis is for the birds. I’d prefer to have it on my pizza.”

    Most of the panic and pain that comes from cannabis is caused by the prohibitionists, not the cannabis.

    You’re not allowed to work (even if you can work very well).

    You’re not allowed to associated (lack of social interaction with peer groups drives addictive behavior and depression).

    You’re a criminal (but haven’t really produced any victim).

    Cannabis users as “lazy” is a self fulfilling prophesy. What does one expect when the ruling class mandates by edict that you aren’t allowed to work or socialize when using cannabis?!

    Monumentally ignorant and stupid.

    This is the great tragedy of cannabis prohibition:

    Cannabis can be consumed as an inhaled vapor (herbal vaporization, not honey oil nail strikes or vape pens), on salad, on pizza, in pastries, alcoholic beverages, and in tinctures.

  75. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-12 22:56

    Not quite….a preference for not smoking is different than saying smoking can cause harm. Potayto, potahto. In my opinion, keeping the effects to oneself would always be preferable.

    Looping back to industrial hemp, it may not be necessary from the point of view of proponents to improve THC detection capabilities, but it would boost confidence in opponents that THC is below threshold whenever it is stored or transported.

  76. bearcreekbat 2019-09-13 01:57

    McTaggart, I didn’t intend to express your opinion for you, I simply indicated my understanding of how I read your comments. I truely hope you will correct any erroneous conclusions that you believe I have drawn.

    The points you raise don’t really respond to my questions. First, assuming 2nd hand smoke is bad for others as you say, and even creates a greater risk of radon contamination, then why wouldn’t a straightforward restriction on the areas where and when an individual can smoke, similar to current tobacco restrictions, suffice to address that problem rather than making it a crime to be involved in any way with marijuana. Your acknowledgment that edible marijuana doesn’t create the same danger as smoking adds to the puzzle of why you believe it better to criminalize all involvement with marijuana. What am I missing here?

    Second, as for using marijuana and DUI, if the current punishment for DUI is insufficient to deter some marijuana users from committing DUI offenses, then why wouldn’t it be more rational to increase the DUI punishment to a level that actually deters DUI rather than criminalizing all involvement with marijuana, including involvement unrelated to driving?

    Is there any study or research showing that legalization of marijuana actually increases accidents from marijuana DUIs in a statistically significant manner? The US Dep’t of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published the results of a study suggesting no such increase:

    A second NHTSA study, the 2015 Drug and Alcohol Crash Risk Study, initially seemed to find a statistically significant increase in unadjusted crash risk for drivers who tested positive for use of illegal drugs (1.21 times), and THC (1.25 times). However, when the crash risk analysis was adjusted for other well-known risk factors, such as age, gender, race, and ethnicity, there was no longer a statistically significant difference in crash risk associated with the presence of these drugs. This finding indicates that these other variables (age, gender, race, and ethnicity) accounted for the detected increase in risk. . . .

    . . .

    . . . NHTSA’s National Roadside Studies show that the presence of THC among drivers has increased, and THC positive driving now exceeds alcohol positive driving. However, the impact of THC on crashes is not clear. Fatal crashes have declined in many States, including Colorado and Washington, and NHTSA’s Crash Risk study did not show elevated crash risk for THC positive drivers when adjustments were made for demographic factors known to be associated with high crash risk. . . .

    Your position on the addictive nature of marijuana seems to indicate you do not see that as a rational reason to criminalize all involvement with marijuana.

    Is there anything else about second hand smoke, DUI, or any other reason that you have not mentioned that will help me understand why you contend everyone involved with marijuana should be deemed a criminal?

  77. Dave 2019-09-13 08:34

    I have so many questions:

    1) Many of the comments above are about marijuana. Hemp is NOT marijuana. They are two different crops. All this marijuana talk just plays into the fears that Kristi is trying to raise about hemp.

    2) Has Kristi bothered to talk to agronomists at SDSU? They could shed a lot of light on this just as state agronomists have in Kentucky. South Dakota should treat hemp as a major agricultural CROP.

    3) Any farmer raising hemp for processing would, I imagine, be hauling to a processing plant in mass quantities — by the truckload or wagon load or whatever large vehicle you use to haul hemp that’s grown on a large scale that involves likely hundreds of acres. It’s not like it’s being snuck to the plant in a zip lock bag hidden in the glove department.

  78. John Dale 2019-09-13 08:50

    Dave – Hemp refers to the fiber of the Cannabis spp (species) plant. Marijuana is the flower of the cannabis plant. Genetic variation determines the quantity of THC in the cannabis flower, and the amount of hemp fiber contained in the stalks of the cannabis plant.

    Therefore, cannabis strains with marijuana flowers low in THC and high in fiber are preferred for legislatures with THC phobias who want to grow cannabis for the hemp fibers.

  79. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-13 10:48

    Hey bcb,

    What if I told you that there was a way to distribute radionuclides to the public, and we were not going to regulate that dispersal at all? You would be calling for some laws to deal with that. Many on this blog would be calling that illegal.

    What if I told you that there was a way to distribute toxic elements and chemicals to the public, and people could disperse them whenever they wanted to. You would also be wanting some laws to deal with that.

    Good news, smoking cannabis disperses radionuclides and toxic elements and chemicals to both the smoker and those around the smoker. If you are in favor of cleaner air, then why would you advance any form of smoking?

    Some may want to make such uncontrolled dispersals via smoking illegal. Others may say that you can do what you want to yourself, but you should find a way not to impose your choices upon others…both in the short-term or the long-term.

  80. John Dale 2019-09-13 11:04

    Robert McTaggart – The government does not have the option to discriminate. Public sector policy must ban all smokeable products, or none of them.

    It must also address, presumably, flatulence, internal combustion engines, jet engines, and camp fires.

    Given the impracticality of these things, it is incumbent upon the government to allow all of them.

    By extension, the potential harmful effects of the combustion of cannabis is not a valid argument for prohibition unless and until it is also poised in good faith to tackle the other more pressing forms of air pollution.

    This is how the public sector works .. a single false positive is a cardinal sin whether it is execution for a crime not committed, or an incorrect THC test used in a conviction.

  81. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-13 11:30

    That is funny…you think public policy works.

    We should be reducing things that can cause harm to the public. Knowing that it can cause harm but still advocating for it any way is not good public policy, because it is not in the public’s best interests. Other than providing pain relief for those who have few alternatives, or the research into chemicals in the plant that can be used for other treatments, I don’t know how smoking cannabis promotes good health outcomes.

    I agree, we should not emit any such particulate matter. Jerry…hold the tamales. And let’s make more nuclear energy :^).

    On a serious note, it sounds like your effort is better spent in developing better THC testing to reduce false positives. There is always the choice not to partake…but that is not the answer you want to hear.

  82. John Dale 2019-09-13 11:41

    Robert McTaggart – “The only thing worse than prophesy is self fulfilling prophesy” — CH

    What we envision together becomes reality. It is a trait rarely found in nature, while the complexity of human vision is one unmatched in observation.

    To think that cannabis will not be restored to its legals state is, in my view, delusional. The entrenched totalitarian mind set is being undermined, and the fascistic power of the ruling class has peaked, will only dwindle.

    Telling lies and spreading misinformation defies the information disbursement capabilities we have developed. These capabilities, as well, were once only an idea in the minds of human beings; most majestic creatures.

    “Texas could never be a blue state”, “cannabis will never be legal in South Dakota” and “man will never walk on the moon” are all psychological operations, visions disconnected from human potential.

    Public policy stemming from pessimism reflects its origins in pessimism; incompleteness, disingenuousness, and opportunity cost.

    Public policy stemming from optimism reflects its origins in optimism; complete, authentic, and fulfilling.

    One should never vote for any person or idea demonstrating such pessimism.


  83. mike from iowa 2019-09-13 12:06

    We should be reducing things that can cause harm to the public

    Impeach Drumpf and elect all Democrats. Problem solved.

  84. bearcreekbat 2019-09-13 12:06

    McTaggart, again your comment suggesting that decriminalization means allowing a dangerous unfettered access to cannabis seems at odds with factual reality. I may be mistaken but hasn’t every single jurisdiction that removed criminalization added rather intense regulation of cannabis? And if that regulation is deemed insufficient to protect public safety why wouldn’t it make more sense to add more stringent regulations rather than simply criminalizing all involvement with marijuana?

    Indeed, it seems there are rational and factual arguments that assert decriminalization removes cannabis from the black market and actually allows regulation, thereby increasing public safety.

    . . . Tens of thousands of people regularly consume marijuana.70 The past fifty years of drug policy in this country have demonstrated that we cannot criminalize people out of using. We are left with widespread consumption through an unregulated and uncontrolled market. Prohibition guarantees that marijuana cannot be inspected for purity or potency. There is no way to protect against dangerous pesticides, contaminants, molds, bacteria, or even the lacing of marijuana. There are no safety regulations. No testing. People have no idea what they are consuming. Under regulation, producers and sellers must comply with rules related to health and safety, security, and zoning. Everyone benefits when the food and substances that we consume are regulated. .. . .

    What am I missing? Again, I remain open to accepting arguments retaining criminal laws against marijuana, but I want to base any position about the issue on factual reality. Help me out here with actual facts that justify wrecking the lives of individuals as well as spending tax dollars to find, arrest, prosecute and imprison all people that are involved with cannabis?

  85. mike from iowa 2019-09-13 12:09

    Cannabis does increase Appetites in aids patients while it makes pain tolerable and expands one’s mind, unless they are incorrigible wingnuts.

  86. Porter Lansing 2019-09-13 12:34

    Professor McTaggart says, “I don’t know how smoking cannabis promotes good health outcomes.”
    Poor fellow was never taught how to have fun. He’s in the right environment, though. The majority in SD follow the credo of deriving enjoyment by denying yourself enjoyment.
    You see, Doc. Smoking cannabis on occasion promotes good mental health, good personal outlook, and good social interaction. In short, getting high once in a while is just plain fun.
    There. That’s that on that.

  87. John Dale 2019-09-13 12:43

    Porter Lansing – we agree on something. Imagine that. Trying to think of a way to celebration this most couth intersection of values .. hmmmm ..

  88. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-13 12:49

    Bcb,the bottom line is that someone else’s choice to smoke impacts my health without my consent. One way to stop that, or at least try to reduce that, is to have laws, restrictions, and penalties.

    If you want to convince me to legalize marijuana, John and bcb, a lot more research needs to be done regarding long-term effects. There should be a very high bar to make a drug (and a potent drug at that) widely available and legal, and regulations should be based on the aforementioned research. You have already made up your conclusions about whether you want to use it or not, but remember you are trying to convince non-users to legalize a new drug.

    And your choice to use this drug should not affect me without my consent. I’m not forcing you to use, but you are forcing me to by smoking.

    Are you willing to pay more for health insurance as a marijuana user or smoker? Even using without smoking will impact cardiovascular systems and other organs. It is not harmless.

  89. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-13 12:54

    By all means then, if you are having fun, I guess that is all we need to legalize a new drug.

    Trump is having fun building a wall. We’d like him to spend money on other things, but now Porter says it is OK because he is having fun.

    Thanks Porter.

  90. John Dale 2019-09-13 12:59

    Robert McTaggart – the earliest evidence of Cannabis use in recorded human history was around 8000-9000 years ago. We’ve come a long way since then, including becoming so lost in our own arrogance that we think we have the right to regulate the consumption of one of our oldest known natural resources; cannabis.

    The fact that you do not acknowledge the hierarchy of dangers of car exhaust, mining pollution, and flattus in the context of cannabis – which does not require direct combustion to consume – erodes the strength of your argumentative position.

    Fluoride in the water is not harmless. Cannabis has medicinal value, textile value, and recreational value.

    Willie Nelson once said, “It Won’t Kill You Unless You Let A Bale Of It Fall On You”.

    The same goes for anything heavy, technically.

    5G promises to erode the health of billions. Yet, where is your outrage?

    I can choose to consume Cannabis without hurting anyone (including myself). Yet, you’re entrenched, dug-in on some vacuous, rather perverted misapplication of Liberty in support of keeping it illegal.

    In the first place, Cannabis was made illegal to use government power to protect the timber/paper industries from competition and to make sure the now DEA would have a budget.

    The prohibition of Cannabis is insane. It is dark. It is evil. Cannabis prohibition stems from greed and human weakness. Prohibition of cannabis is SATANIC.

  91. mike from iowa 2019-09-13 13:03

    Watch it, Porter, or the nuts troll will be humping your leg for you. AWTTW.

  92. Porter Lansing 2019-09-13 13:09

    Good one, Mikey. :) The National Cannabis Roundtable advances 21st century cannabis policy in the United States. We advocate for common sense federal regulation, tax equity, financial services reform, social justice and support changing federal law to acknowledge states’ rights to regulate and manage their own cannabis policies. Learn more at

  93. John Dale 2019-09-13 13:22

    Psyche Mikey – always taking the high road. Even when we agree, mikey makes fightey.

    But it’s like a finger point to the moon .. don’t watch the finger, or you will mis the heavenly glory.

    Porter Lansing – I analyzed your site. It is very offensive from an Internet privacy standpoint.

    It connected to 9 third party sites including those most famous for violating the privacy of visitors.

    Anyone visiting that site should use TOR or in the least an ad blocker.


    Note that does not have a single third party looped into the information exchange, earning it the PRIVACY CERTIFIED label.

    If you would like to be that good, drop me a note and I’ll gladly help you out.

    It doesn’t serve the cannabis community very well to be bleeding their privacy out onto the digital floor.

  94. bearcreekbat 2019-09-13 13:35

    McTaggart, as I indicated earlier I am not a marijuana user in any form.

    And as I indicated earlier I do not want to, and am not attempting to, try to convince you to take any position for or against legalization.

    Rather, I want to understand your views as an apparently strong advocate for the continued criminalization of people involved with marijuana. As for my views, I think it important to base whatever position I ultimately take on the decriminalization movement on actual facts and reality that are identified by folks on both sides of the issue, hence my interest in the facts that you, as a highly educated opponent, rely upon to justify your position.

    So far you seem to have offered only three factual reasons to support continuation of SD’s arrest and incarceration policies – the dangers of second hand smoke, DUI, and the dangers of unregulated marijuana. I have provided publicly available research results that appear to be from credible scholarly sources that seem to show that many of your conclusions are factually incorrect, such as the incorrect assumption that decriminalization has increased the risk of injury from impaired drivers or that decriminalization will result in unregulated marijuana distribution and use. You have not identified the problems that you conclude exist with this research nor its results.

    In addition, you have offer some facts that I assume are true, such as the potential harm to you of exposure to second hand smoke. As to these facts, I have identified public policy alternatives to criminalization that would seem to adequately protect you and the public from any exposure to second hand smoke without inflicting the harm of criminal prosecution on all people who are involved with marijuana, including non-smokers. You have yet to explain what the problems are with these alternatives.

    As to your last query, can you explain how the posited fact that a marijuana user might be required to pay a higher health insurance premium can justify the criminal prosecution of that user?

  95. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-13 13:36


    Umm…I do recognize the other forms of pollution. Why do you think I want to generate more nuclear energy to displace those emissions? Meanwhile, let’s haul truckloads of industrial hemp around with diesel powered trucks.

    Can’t do much about the flatulence….especially if everybody is eating those faux whoppers from BK.

    9,000 years doesn’t make a hill of beans unless the drug runs through several independent peer reviews. To approve the drug, you really need the approval of the CDC and the federal government. If cannabis is harmless, I’m sure the studies will bear that out.

  96. John Dale 2019-09-13 13:45

    Robert McTaggart – “unless the drug runs through several independent peer reviews”

    You’re assuming the premise!

    15 yards and an automatic first down ..

    First, you must offer some substantive proof that Cannabis is a drug any more than table salt, lettuce, exercise, and nascent iodine.

    Requiring cannabis to be “harmless” is an unreasonable burden of proof unless it is applied evenly to hammers, bails of cotton, and PMS’ing women.

  97. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-13 14:01

    bcb, there you go again. Just assuming things.

    I have expressed wiggle room for medical uses of marijuana with strict controls. I am open to industrial hemp if legalization of cannabis is not part of the effort, and hemp can be identified more easily from marijuana/cannabis. I don’t think it will be a winning proposition, but once the hurdle is met, then it can succeed or fail on its own merits.

    I am a strong proponent of reducing secondhand smoke. If you believe in clean air, then support initiatives that provide clean air. If you believe in personal freedom, then respect my personal freedom and obtain my consent before you pollute the air I breathe.

    You argue for just throwing up your hands and letting everyone smoke anywhere and anytime. Sorry, that doesn’t win me over.

    If you want to legalize the drug, then you need more data to convince people not named Porter Lansing or John Dale. If it is harmless and has all these wonderful health benefits, then it should pass all the peer reviews and CDC trials without any problems.

  98. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-13 14:12

    If you are not willing for what is currently an illegal substance to undergo analysis prior to being considered a legal substance, that really does say something. I guess if you do not want to know, then do not ask.

  99. Porter Lansing 2019-09-13 14:58

    Damn, Dale. You find the National Cannabis Roundtable offensive? You probably are a narc.

  100. John Dale 2019-09-13 15:00

    The burden of proof is on the prohibitionists!

    Prohibitionists must demonstrate that Cannabis is more harmful than, say, water (which can kill a person first or second hand).

  101. John Dale 2019-09-13 15:12

    That’s just it, Porter Lansing – your site IS THE NARC because it communicates the site’s visitor information with so many third parties.

  102. bearcreekbat 2019-09-13 15:12

    McTaggart, thanks for clarifying the medical uses and hemp that you remain open to decriminalizing. I agree that virtually all the evidence I have seen supports decriminalizing those uses. And you were right about my assuming something – as I also assumed our discussion was only about all activity related to the recreational use of marijuana since that seemed to be what Noem claims to object to in opposing hemp legalization and I assumed that was what you were referencing in our discussion so far.

    I am not trying trying to convince, you, John Dale or Porter of anything. Rather, as I have said several times I want to independently understand the actual facts underlying the issue of the decriminalization of marijuana. As you have been referred to as “professor” and “Dr” several times on DFP I was interested in your factual analysis as an apparently educated individual that normally would rely on actual data before coming to conclusions. Although I find Porter’s comments generally reliable I don’t always agree with everything he posts. And I rely on nothing John Dale posts given his expressed proclivity to accept Infowars, conspiracy theories, and the statements of Donald Trump – those proclivities lead me to question the reliability of most everything he posts so that i must try to independently confirm or verify his statements for factual accuracy.

    And although you have called me out for making assumptions you deem unwarranted, you too have made repeated statements that are inconsistent with points that I have expressly disavowed more than once, including the idea that I am trying to convince you of anything.

    I have never once argued “for just throwing up your hands and letting everyone smoke anywhere and anytime.” Instead, I have repeatedly suggested that “a straightforward restriction on the areas where and when an individual can smoke, similar to current tobacco restrictions, [should] suffice to address [the second hand smoke] problem rather than making it a crime to be involved in any way with [recreational] marijuana.”

    If you have any additional factual information that supports a public policy of charging people involved with recreational marijuana with criminal activity and imprisoning them, I remain open to considering it. I will disclose a strong personal bias that affects my analysis – I have seen the damage that criminal charges and incarceration can cause to otherwise decent people from decades of working with people charged with crimes, prisoners, and ex-prisoners. What I have seen convinces me that society should never treat anyone as a criminal and imprison anyone absent sufficient proof that they knowingly engaged in conduct that directly harms or threatens another person or someone else’s property. At this point, I have a not seen any factual information that supports the idea that an individual engages in such conduct simply by being involved with recreational marijuana as a consumer, grower or otherwise.

    While people who are involved with recreational marijuana can and sometimes do commit actual crimes unrelated to marijuana, and it and when they do they should face the same consequences as anyone else that commits such crimes, it does not appear that any actual facts suggest they deserve to be independently arrested and punished solely for being involved with marijuana.

  103. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-13 15:13

    Uh, no. You have the burden of proof to reclassify an illegal substance into a legal one.

    In your process, you put on the jeweled glove from the last Avengers movie, snap your fingers, and then marijuana is legal.

  104. mike from iowa 2019-09-13 15:17

    Eat a hill of beans if you really want flatulence.

  105. John Dale 2019-09-13 15:21

    Robert McTaggart – the process is nebulous at best.

    My focus is not to try to prove the positive that Cannabis is safe enough to be legal.

    The only strategy that works is a slow grind of education of people like yourself, by focusing on the dubious precursor for prohibition that occurred nearly 100 years ago to prop-up the timber/paper industries and to lasso the hispanics and blacks and many, many whites who prefer cannabis to alcohol, hillbilly heroine, meth, and coke.

    Cannabis prohibition is a SCAM – the epitome of using big government power to accomplish these goals:

    1 – government sponsored monopoly for timber/paper industry
    2 – government sponsored monopoly on spirits for alcohol producers
    3 – dumb down the population through persistent push of alcohol sales messages through every main stream media channel using sex, causing disease, family destruction, death, and a steady mental and physical decline.

  106. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-13 15:30


    Decriminalization is not as big a deal for me as it is for you. I think you have made your interest in that clear and have spoken your truth.

    However, the whole thing regarding decriminalization is avoided if you don’t pursue illegal activities. Then those laws that you disagree with are rendered moot. It is reduced if you work on better laws.

    Better detection methods to reduce false positives is something that all of us would agree with…I think.

    As would more education. If someone is doing something illegal, then we should be trying to redirect those energies into something more positive. Which for me does not include smoking. Smoking is not fun, Porter.

  107. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-13 15:32


    One bean will probably do it.

  108. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-13 15:35

    I agree with you John that there is far too much emphasis on alcohol today.

  109. Porter Lansing 2019-09-13 15:44

    No, Taggy. Smoking is not fun.

  110. John Dale 2019-09-13 15:54

    Robert McTaggart – exercising free will in the pursuit of agency in one’s own life is fulfilling, beyond fun.

    A couple of puffs of Cannabis smoke, since prohibition (A VERY BAD LAW .. ONE OF THE WORST IN THE HISTORY OF THE US) has made other forms of ingestion untenable, is worth the risk for many.

    I’m sure you realize the danger of blind obedience to man’s laws?

    In particular, laws that do not clearly and accurately define a victim are very bad.

    Having a litany of oppressive, bad laws on the books exacerbates the “lucifer effect” and creates a kind of un-mitigatable cultural blow-back, which in turn causes a great deal of strife and conflict.

    In terms of flatulence, if you have kids like me execute the following plan for fun and enjoyment.

    1 – drink 1 quart of strong orange juice
    2 – eat 1/4 lb of under-soaked, over cooked pinto beans
    3 – eat three apples
    4 – eat 8 oz sauerkraut

    The result will be a near perfect analog of every mike from Iowa post in this forum.

    No, psyche mikey, I will most certainly NOT pull your finger.

  111. Debbo 2019-09-13 17:36

    McTaggart, you are repeatedly failing to respond to BCB’s simple and direct questions. Why are you avoiding answering?

    My sense is that you don’t have a good answer to why putting the same restrictions on weed smoking as on tobacco smoking isn’t good enough to protect your air. He’s asked you a couple other questions too and I’m interested in your answers, but you’re dodging.

  112. 96Tears 2019-09-13 17:41

    Noem will flip on hemp if the following conditions are in place:

    1. She, personally, and her family have a business plan that will make them fabulously wealthy from South Dakota’s hemp industry for the rest of their days. As with the ethanol industry in its hay day, producers can reap the full benefits of vertical integration.

    2. Her pals can get piece of that pie and make beaucoup bucks. A thriving hemp industry requires processing facilities, which have very high overhead. Low interest loans, grants and tax giveaways need to be in place for quick growth and faster profits.

    3. There is no 3.

    Since they’re building a statue to her anyway for being a Republican who won a governor’s election, perhaps the best location for it would be in a weed patch next to the parking lot at the DCI HQ.

  113. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-13 18:21

    Smoking marijuana/cannabis does harm. Its use should therefore be regulated. Right now, the regulation is don’t use it, but many choose not to follow those rules.

    BCB’s and John’s and Porter’s issue is why marijuana is being treated differently than alcohol and tobacco. I am perfectly fine with not having access to alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana.

    I understand many here don’t think it should be illegal. But if one does not smoke marijuana, then one does not have to worry about the laws. So the answers are really moot.

    I have suggested better detection methods for THC may facilitate the approval of industrial hemp without the approval of cannabis/marijuana. But it is clear that there is no interest in approving hemp without approving marijuana….which at the end of the day that means hemp won’t be approved.

  114. John Dale 2019-09-13 19:01

    “Smoking marijuana/cannabis does harm. Its use should therefore be regulated. ”

    This is not logical, since B (regulation need) does not follow from A (using cannabis) since there are dangerous things that are legal.

    As such, it is you, Robert McTaggart, that are preventing all forms of legalization/deregulation by perpetuating the myth that Marijuan is a “drug” like Opiods are drugs. Alcohol is not referred to as a “drug”.

    Saying that Cannabis is a drug (A), drugs are regulated (B), therefore Cannabis should be regulated (C) is also not logical since premise A can be easily contested.

    If this is not clear to you, substitute water for Cannabis above and use your intuition to evaluate the strength of the arguments.

    Drinking water has killed, hurt more people than Cannabis.

  115. bearcreekbat 2019-09-13 19:01

    McTaggart, when you say “You have the burden of proof to reclassify an illegal substance into a legal one,” you are misunderstanding my position and suggesting that there are existing valid arguments for the criminalization of marijuana that need to be overcome.

    I am not attempting to prove that marijuana ought to be reclassified from an illegal substance to a legal substance, hence I have no burden to prove anything to anyone. If I had such a burden I would start by relying in part on the following factual arguments: we can protect people from second hand smoke with time and place restrictions on smoking marijuana as we have with tobacco; credible studies show that decriminalization of marijuana has not increased the danger of injury or accidents from DUIs; the factual cost of investigation, arrest, prosecution and incarceration of people involved with marijuana – in both human terms and tax dollars; and the fact that we do not criminalize the vast majority of substances merely because they have shown a potential for misuse or are capable of causing harm.

    But since I do not have the burden of proving anything, I am asking for the factual reasons that explain why we should keep punishing people involved with marijuana. I have read credible historical explanations describing why marijuana was originally classified as an illegal substance – fear of Mexican immigrants.

    “The prejudices and fears that greeted these peasant immigrants also extended to their traditional means of intoxication: smoking marijuana,” Schlosser wrote for The Atlantic in 1994. “Police officers in Texas claimed that marijuana incited violent crimes, aroused a ‘lust for blood,’ and gave its users ‘superhuman strength.’ Rumors spread that Mexicans were distributing this ‘killer weed’ to unsuspecting American schoolchildren.”

    Had these reasons been factual then criminalization would have made a lot of sense. Today, however, most people recognize that the reasons were based on prejudice and simply a lie. Neither continues to justify criminalization.

    Thus, it seems reasonable to seek to understand the more current reasons you and like thinkers still conclude it is appropriate to put people involved with marijuana in jail. And as an aside, the answer that people can stay out of jail by complying with the law has two deficiencies. First, it fails to provide any factually accurate justification for the existence of this law. Second, it ignores the fact that literally 22.2 million people report using it in one month according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use, a number that suggests simply telling people to obey this law is a fool’s errand.

    I am going to assume that by declaring that those who seek to decriminalize marijuana have the “burden of proof” that this means you are unable to identify a single rational reason to continue to criminalize people involved with recreational marijuana in the face of the above facts that I have listed. If I have erred perhaps you will be kind enough to help me understand what facts from my list that you contest and why, or what other facts I may have overlooked that can be used to justify continuing the criminal penalties for this conduct.

  116. bearcreekbat 2019-09-13 19:07

    I just saw McTaggart’s last comment about regulating marijuana. I think there is a factual difference between regulation and criminalization and as an earlier authority that I linked explained, criminalizing marijuana creates a black market that entirely avoids regulation.

  117. Porter Lansing 2019-09-13 19:12

    Matters not, but I don’t think marijuana should be legal in any form in South Dakota. Not because there’s any harm but the change would be too much for the majority to cope with. Just look how much it freaks out a young person, like yourself. I do however think the draconian law in SD needs to be decriminalized. A hundred dollar fine for possession of small amounts. Nothing on your permanent record and you can mail in the fine. This is standard in every state except two. Also, the invasion of privacy requiring a person to urinate for self incrimination is highly unconstitutional and must be stopped. All records of marijuana arrests should be removed from the court files across the state, also.

  118. mike from iowa 2019-09-13 19:19

    Who needs protection from second hand pot?

    Grand Funk Live (double lp) they started off the song Inside Looking Out by saying, “What we’re gonna do is take a step back and dedicate this song. We are going to dedicate this song to everyone putting that funky smell into the air. We want you to blow some up this way.”

  119. John Dale 2019-09-13 20:31

    “Also, the invasion of privacy requiring a person to urinate for self incrimination is highly unconstitutional and must be stopped”

    It’s draconian and barbaric .. the practice should be on MSM every night until it is stopped.

  120. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-13 21:23

    I’m sure Colorado is a great place. The Broncos are usually pretty good.

    If they smell pot in the vehicle, don’t they have probable cause to do a search?

    And don’t they do something similar for blood alcohol content by asking folks to breathe into a device? If they see you swerving all over the road and stop you, and you refuse the test, eventually don’t they get a warrant based on probable cause?

    If there is no breath test for THC levels (which I do not know is the case), and urination is the only definitive way of obtaining the information (which I also do not know is the case), then how would you have the police test for THC based on probable cause (pot smell, driving erratically, etc.)?

    Sorry, you cannot say you would not want them to test at all for this round.

  121. Porter Lansing 2019-09-13 21:42

    Do a search for what? It’s legal to have marijuana in your car. How are you supposed to get it home from the store?
    There is a device ready for production that can sense thc on your breath. Problem is, a level of intoxication is different for everyone. The law can’t be written in that case. I suppose if you were drunk also that would be easy to test. Also, a swab of the inside of your cheek will give an accurate reading. You can’t equate driving under the influence of marijuana to driving under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol is much more dangerous and much more impairing.

  122. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-13 21:51

    You cannot get it at the store in SD….or you are not supposed to get it at the store.

    Are you saying that driving while under the influence of marijuana is legal in Colorado?

    The level of intoxication can vary for alcohol in a person due to body weight, etc. I’m sure the amount/concentration needed to impact driving can be figured out. Safety first.

  123. Porter Lansing 2019-09-13 22:07

    Of course driving while stoned is illegal. The link I posted explains that. I had a couple conversations with grudznick, when he was working with Larry Kurtz about getting legal pot in Deadwood. Gambling casinos don’t like pot because pot makes people cautious. People who are a little high don’t bet big money. Alcohol makes people reckless. Reckless people bet stupidly and casinos love that.
    It’s that way with driving. Stoned people are cautious and generally know enough not to drive until a few hours have passed. Drunk people think they’re bulletproof. They take foolish chances and drive drunk anyway.

  124. Debbo 2019-09-13 23:51

    The Strib had an article on the rot that is the Sackler family, oxycontin dealers. The following is a comment following the article:

    “The Sacklers are drug dealers. They made more money than El Chapo, and they hid it is offshore accounts. Their actions resulted in the deaths of multitudes of Americans.

    “They will never do a day in jail. They will keep their billions.

    “Contrast this with some pitiful person languishing in prison for decades or even for life for selling some minuscule amount of marijuana.

    “This is social justice in today’s America.”

    The commenter tells the truth. 🤬

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