South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO David Owen takes a potshot at the two marijuana initiatives currently circulating in South Dakota:
T – Minus 10: Ballot measures trying for the 2020 general election ballot have just ten days until signatures are due in the Secretary of State’s Office. Deadline – Monday November 4 at 5 p.m.
Two measures are still “in the running” to qualify for the ballot – both are “going to pot”. After voting on five ballot measures during the 2018 general election and having voted on as many as eleven in 2006 and ten in 2016, next year looks like there may be only two ballot measures placed by signature gathering (plus any put on the ballot by the 2020 Legislature).
…* Legalizing marijuana for medical purposes – Melissa Mentele – Announced they had secured 32,000 signatures (double the number needed) by using volunteers and paid circulators. Signatures Needed = 16,961 valid signatures
* Legalize marijuana/15% excise tax/require hemp regulations – Brendan Johnson (Amendment) – Approved for circulation on September 11th – Being circulated by paid circulators – Deadline is November 4th Signatures Needed = 33,921 [David Owen, “2020 Ballot Measure Analysis,” Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce: Chamber Advocate, 2019.10.25].
If either of these measures makes the ballot, expect easy pot jokes through next November. But advocates shouldn’t mind: I get the impression that casual jabs about pot have as much power to rile the leafy base to advocacy and action as they do to stir the moral-superioritarians who want to continue restricting other people’s medicinal choices while freely drinking and taxing scotch.
Owen says there’s no evidence that any other measures are circulating. I can attest that he is mistaken about two measures: John Dale of Spearfish has certainly been reaching out to voters to get their names on his marijuana petition, and I just sent a batch of redistricting petitions to Dan Ahlers’s initiative campaign manager yesterday, even though Dan may be pre-occupied with other matters. However, Owen is correct that neither of those petitions have mounted the sort of highly visible petition drive that New Approach South Dakota and the Marijuana Policy Project have conducted.