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SOS Barnett Validates Medical Marijuana Initiative for 2020 Ballot

One—one!—initiative petition has qualified for the 2020 ballot. On Thursday, Secretary of State Steve Barnett validated his first petition, the medical marijuana measure proposed by New Approach South Dakota. From the Secretary’s press release, we gather the following numbers:

  • Official signature count: 34,192.
  • Random sample of signatures actually checked: 718 (2.1% of total).
  • Percent of signatures found valid: 74.65%
  • Petitioner error rate: 25.35%
  • Valid signatures estimated by random sample: 25,524.
  • Cushion over the 16,961 minimum required to make the ballot: 8,562 (50.48%).

New Approach SD had a 45.48% error rate on its failed 2015 petition and a 37.53% error rate with its failed 2017 petition. Clearly New Approach SD learned from its past petition drives and collected signatures far more effectively in 2019.

Opponents have until January 18 to file any challenge to the petition with the Secretary of State; challenges may also be filed through the summer in the Sixth Circuit Court in Hughes County. Absent a challenge, medical marijuana will appear on the 2020 ballot as Initiated Measure 26.

Now Secretary Barnett turns his attention to the broader initiated amendment to write medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, and industrial hemp into the South Dakota Constitution. Petitioners for that measure claim to have submitted 53,377 signatures; an error rate comparable to that of the medical marijuana petitioners would give them a good 5,900 signature cushion above the required 33,921 necessary to place an initiated amendment on the ballot.


  1. Mark 2019-12-23 07:31

    Oh, I’ll bet that the rides in Kristiland
    are off the rails with IM26.
    Watch the B. S. start to fly out of Pierre.
    “Ain’t no time to wonder why, WHOOPIE
    we’re all gonna die”

  2. Mark 2019-12-23 09:00

    Well, I’ll bet the rides are off the rails in
    Kristiland over IM26.
    Watch the B. S. that comes out of Pierre
    on this.
    “Ain’t no time to wonder why, WHOOPIE
    we’re all gonna die”

  3. grudznick 2019-12-23 11:43

    The Demon Weed is bad. It is bad. Real bad.

    Fry your brains, it will.

  4. Debbo 2019-12-23 18:03

    Melissa Mentele and friends did a superb job with that. They should be very proud.
    People with intractable seizures, debilitating pain and other conditions will finally get legal relief if it passes. I’m betting it will pass.

  5. Porter Lansing 2019-12-23 18:50

    Does anyone even research this project? Medical marijuana was legal in Colorado for three years and not one gram of pot was dispensed. Why? No doctors would sign on to write prescriptions over fear their malpractice insurance would be suspended. Not until specific laws were passed through the General Assembly did a single doctor agree to risk it. (His malpractice insurance had already been taken away for malpractice violations.) *What are the odds Gov. Noem would veto a MedMarijuana law, if it should happen to pass?
    PS … It would take years for a system of dispensary licenses and licensee’s to be devised and approved by your legislators. It’s SD, of course and the opportunity for bribes would be too much for Republicans to resist. I guarantee you that grudznick would the first lobbyist to represent the industry, though. He’s completely devoid of morals and full of double-speak about the subject. Psychology knows that those who complain the most are the most apt to jump in with both feet.

  6. Debbo 2019-12-23 20:19

    In Minnesota the governor and lege were on board so set up, though strictly limited and controlled, was relatively quick.

  7. Robert McTaggart 2019-12-24 13:12

    Why is control necessary?

    Of interest is a CNN report on THC vape cartridges that they obtained from an illegal vape shop and had tested.

    “The results showed that the cartridges all contained a variety of pesticides that exceed the legal amount.”

    Basically when they concentrate the THC, they concentrate everything else along with it, including pesticides and heavy metals.

    So third party testing, licensing, and strict oversight are in order, whether that be for industrial hemp or medical marijuana.

  8. grudznick 2019-12-24 13:24

    Is there a lot of money in lobbing about the Demon Weed, Mr. Lansing? That could stand a good looking into by some.

  9. Porter Lansing 2019-12-24 13:30

    McTaggart –
    -What are you talking about? Did someone with validity say no control over legal cannabis was necessary?
    -What third party? The state is in charge of quality control. The only time a third party would be appropriate is if the state agency is found to be corrupt and an investigation is necessary.
    -What black market THC vape cartridges exist in states with legal cannabis? That’s as far fetched as black market nuclear reactors selling electricity under the counter to factories run by rogue Republicans.
    Your mind tends to wander, boy. Stay on the page.
    For Purity & Safety Sake ~ Buy Colorado Cannabis. We Take Pride In Being America’s Best (every plant is barcoded and digitally recorded on video from the time it’s a baby seedling until it’s harvested, moved to a retail store, and sold to a consumer)

  10. Porter Lansing 2019-12-24 13:32

    Don’t act the fool, grudznick. I laid out the process from voter to dispensary, above. You know full well where an advocate would be worth a buck or two.

  11. bearcreekbat 2019-12-24 13:58

    A strong fact based argument for legalization of marijuana, as well as other substances, is that legalization will lead to the ability to publicly regulate and monitor what is marketed to consumers. This is a significant step toward increasing consumer safety from an unregulated black market that survives only when criminal laws preclude meaningful public regulation.

  12. Robert McTaggart 2019-12-24 14:00

    I’m glad you agree that strict control is necessary, and that industrial hemp and medical marijuana have no business being used as proxies for the approval of recreational marijuana. That should be able to stand on its own.

    I guess I will leave it to you to justify why more data is less valuable than less data…

    If I were the company, I would want to know an independent result prior to sending a sample to a state lab. Especially when a poor result at a state lab would lead to the loss of a license.

  13. bearcreekbat 2019-12-24 14:06

    Unfortunately, some opponents believe that allowing harm to consumers is an appropriate punishment and should be encouraged, somewhat like punishing women seeking to terminate a pregnancy by denying safe medical help. In both cases, even though this typically does not deter the objected use of marijuana or termination of a pregnancy, these opponents can rationalize that people hurt by the policies “get what they deserve.”

  14. Debbo 2019-12-24 14:16

    BCB, it seems that people who want folks to “get what they deserve,” rarely expect the same for themselves.

  15. Robert McTaggart 2019-12-24 14:18

    Medical marijuana would be used as a regulated drug in a medical treatment under doctor supervision. Still, the case needs to be made regarding safety, testing, and licensing before approval….not afterwards.

    Anytime use with any level of THC and other materials has more to do with self-medicating than a medicinal use. And it is also a problem if one is sharing that smoke with others without their consent. Just because we allow smoking tobacco is not a good reason to allow even more substances to be smoked. We should be reducing the smoking of tobacco, not going the other way.

  16. Robert McTaggart 2019-12-24 14:41

    The inhalation of particulate matter, let alone the inhalation of various toxins that come along with said particulate matter, is a cost driver for the cost of healthcare.

    If you want the Democratic Party to win elections, reducing avoidable healthcare costs should be part of the plan. We shouldn’t be for more healthcare just to cover the effects of more smoking.

    Charging smokers of tobacco, marijuana, etc. more would address the financial side of this argument. If you like having people around longer, avoiding the effects of smoking in the first place is the better and preferred solution.

  17. Porter Lansing 2019-12-24 15:09

    There will not be legal medical marijuana in South Dakota. Pearls Before Swine. Too much potential income for such a contrary host.
    Kentucky has bourbon. California has wine. Wisconsin has cheese. Colorado has cannabis. Stick with feed lots.
    Marijuana is Bad. Very Very Bad! Listen to the guy that wants to nuke you.

  18. grudznick 2019-12-24 15:34

    Have a Scotch, Mr. Lansing, and as you young fellows say, “mellow out.” Eat a plate of that store-bought charcuterie you fancy and then have a few more fingers.

  19. Porter Lansing 2019-12-24 15:43

    I’m six years older than you, grudz. I have ten fingers. As Bob said, “The middle one’s just for you.”
    Merry Christmas, JMM ツ

  20. bearcreekbat 2019-12-24 15:45

    Deciding whether to support a particular public policy like legalization of marijuana based on whether you think your position will help “win an election” rather than whether the policy benefits or harms people seems rather Trumpian.

    Indeed, justifying this tactic by rationalizing that you intend to actually support the policy change you have denied supporting after the election fits right into Trumpian duplicity.

    And appealing to a group of potential voters to abandon support for something they believe can benefit people simply because this “might win the election” seems based on the assumption that those voters lack the moral principles to take a stand they believe to be appropriate. I hope that this assumption is mistaken and such an entreaty falls on deaf ears.

  21. Porter Lansing 2019-12-24 15:56

    grudzie … Did you get that parcel I sent you with the “stuff” you wanted me to pick up? If it doesn’t get there, I’ll get you more. Just send another hundred bucks. ツ

  22. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-12-25 07:34

    I will vote on IM 26 with no political calculation. I will vote on it based on whether I decide it properly regulates the use of a substance that my doctor might prescribe to treat me when I’m sick.

  23. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-12-25 07:36

    if the marijuana amendment makes the ballot (Amendment AA, it would be labeled, a disappointing waste of a cool ballot measure label), I will likely vote against it, because I do not see the desire to get high as worthy of enshrinement in the state constitution.

  24. bearcreekbat 2019-12-25 10:34

    Good for you Cory. I agree with your rejection of “win the election” as a basis for your votes. Although on the second initiative I disagree with your position, like you my views are formed for reasons other than political expediency.

    It is very interesting how we can have such different perspectives of the same factual issue. I don’t think the marijuana constitutional amendment should be supported because of the “desire to get high,” rather, I see it as an appropriate limitation on the power of the State to prosecute and incarcerate people that engage in relatively harmless activities.

    Incidentally, like you Cory, I consume neither marijuana or alcohol so other than objecting to the factually and morally irrational prosecution of actual users, I have no real skin in the game.

    Such a constitutional amendment, however, seems more consistent with the political philosophy I support, namely, limiting the use of state power to hurt relatively harmless people. As John Prine sang, “please tell the man I didn’t kill anyone, no I was just trying to have me some fun.” Make no mistake, implementing the power of the state to treat people as criminals hurts them.

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