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SD State Medical Association Opposes Both Marijuana Initiatives

I have no enthusiasm for or against the marijuana initiatives on South Dakota’s ballot this year. If the voters think growing and taxing and smoking marijuana is important enough to write into the state constitution, well, far be it from me to harsh their mellow. I won’t take up the bong any more than I’ve taken up constitutionally sanctioned craps or keno. As for medicinal cannabis, I won’t be applying pot to what ails me unless my doctor says that’s a good idea.

Uh oh—it appears my doctor—or at least the South Dakota State Medical Association that represents whatever sawbones happens to be on duty when I stumble into the ER with my next major bicycle injury—is telling us not to do pot:

The South Dakota State Medical Association is opposing both cannabis ballot questions.

They’re crafting the opposition statement, which will get featured on the general election ballot.

…Dr. Benjamin Aaker is the president of the state medical association.

“There is the recreational side of things with all the risks to the use of that and dangers to the reaction time going down,” Aaker says. “Then, there’s the medical side of things. If you’re looking to have medical marijuana , then you really ought to think about the research that’s been done and does that research tell us that this drug is beneficial, but also has low side effects. We don’t think that it meets those two criteria” [Lee Strubinger, “State Medical Association Urges No Vote on Marijuana Ballot Questions,” SDPB, 2020.07.30].

In an era when our Governor is lying about the effectiveness of the public health interventions that can stop a deadly pandemic, it is vital that we listen to medical experts and move the discussion of medical issues from anecdotal to solid science. Maybe scientists will complete and publish some research between now and November that changes our doctors’ minds about medical marijuana. The case for CBD oil and other purportedly therapeutic uses of cannabis is not as dubious as the case Trumpists made for hydroxychloroquine, but South Dakota’s docs are saying we don’t have solid evidence for jumping on the potwagon.


  1. Nix 2020-07-31 09:03

    Two examples:
    Bill Clinton said
    “Don’t ask, Don’t Tell” for LBGTQ people in the Military.
    Then, President Obama said that you can openly serve.
    What happens?
    The LBGTQ people were already in the Military.
    Colorado legalized cannabis in 2014.
    What happened?
    Other than 1 Billion dollars to the states coffers because cannabis consumers were already there.
    The cannabis initiatives on the South Dakota ballot in November?
    What will happen if these both pass?
    Because cannabis consumers are already here.
    They just don’t want to go to jail for
    Get your damn GOP BOOT OFF OF MY NECK.

  2. jerry 2020-07-31 09:29

    The drug dealing docs do not want competition from something you can grow at home with better results. These guys and gals make millions off the dangerous narcotics they peddle to you without regard for your health.

    In the movies, the first order of business in a drug cartel is to eliminate the competition. After seeing how they screwed the pooch on tinker belle’s Hydroxychloroquine corruption, what can you expect from paid shills.

  3. Jenny 2020-07-31 10:00

    South Dakotans that really want cannabis to be legal both medically and recreationally just need to ditch their state and move to a state where it is legal. You would be accepted into society and not considered a felon for using.
    I know what it’s like to be considered a ‘bad person’ in SD. I am a cannabis user and have family back in SD that call me a drug addict. I work fulltime, take care of my family and don’t have a criminal record but am still considered unfit because I happen to use cannabis.
    Like jerry say ‘get your damn controlling GOP boot off my neck’ Back off and leave me alone. We cannabis users are not bad people anymore than alcohol users are bad people.

  4. Bob Newland 2020-07-31 11:42

    There’s plenty of solid science about the medical benefits of cannabis. There’s probably more anecdotal evidence confirming its benefits than there has ever been about any similar situation in any field.

    Most importantly, there’s plenty of evidence that using cannabis, while adhering to some common-sense advice from folks who have decades of experience, WILL NOT CAUSE HARM. That is more than can be said for ibuprofen and any of dozens of FDA-approved pharmasuckitals.

    As for the constitutional amendment to legalize weed…. Well, arresting people for attempting to feel better, no matter their vehicle or reason for travel, is simply meanness. ANY means to make government stop putting people in prison for attempting to feel better is a positive step.

    The American Medical Association testified against the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, and was ridiculed by proponents. That was the opening salvo of a “war” that has left a swath of ruined lives and slaughtered people all to the result that cannabis is more readily available and cheaper than it has ever been during my lifetime.

  5. grudznick 2020-07-31 16:53

    Bob, you know the demon weed is bad. It is bad. I saw two fellows out behind the Brass Rail the other day in the alley of art who were toking, and they were complete derelicts. You could tell it was the weed that had addled their brains. grudznick doesn’t want to be involved in another intervention for you, so please stop. You know I care about you a whole bunch.

  6. jerry 2020-07-31 18:05

    You seem pretty knowledgeable about marijuana Mr. grudznick, seems you must have it whilst listening to your old Lawrence Welk tunes. Oh, and stop hanging around in back of the Rail.

  7. Debbo 2020-07-31 21:13

    I wonder what the SD docs thinks of all their thousands of colleagues who prescribe marijuana?

  8. Bill Powers 2020-09-30 09:39

    I have less trouble with recreational use of marijuana than I do with the medical claims. I don’t understand why FDA approval of marijuana would be any different from other controlled substance, like morphine or opioids. Even if medical marijuana is approved by the voters, it will still have to go through the FDA for approved use and dosage. At present medical use for any marijuana derivatives have not been approved by the FDA. As such, physicians subscribing such medications are at least technically vioilating the law, even if state law approves it. Either the FDA has approval authority upon all drugs sold and dispensed in this country or they do not. I know of no cases testing the apparent illegal dispensation and sale of marijuana in this country, but it ought to make physicians uneasy. The appropriate medical use for marijuana ought not be determined by the vote of the people, at least that’s we’ve thought for a very long time since the time of snake oil.

    The situation is actually more clear regarding recreational marijuana since one might argue that the Federal law against marijuana possession and sale is associated only with interstate commerce. We can treat recreational marijuana in the same way we treat alchohol, tobacco, and caffeine, allowing, for the most part, for people to use them wisely or not. There will be consequences for such freedoms, but, for the most part, we as a country are at present willing to tolerate that cost and risk for the sake of individual freedoms. We have, however, taken a more cautious view with regard to the practice of medicine. I suggest such caution be continued.

  9. Dicta 2020-09-30 10:07

    I’m not sure if I get the critique of popular vote as it pertains to medical practices. The vote would not make medical marijuana prescriptions mandatory, but rather would allow doctors to prescribe them when appropriate. This means that physicians would still be required to use their skill and education in making such a decision. They are either trusted with the ability to make prescriptions or they aren’t.

  10. o 2020-09-30 10:38

    The medical marijuana issue shows the larger issue of who/what is truly “medical.” A whole lot of “doctors” have that title, but I’m not so sure all are what any of us would intuitively call doctors. I have seen plenty of chiropractors branch out into “alternative medicine” and some of that gets awfully fringe if not down right quackery.

    If the AMA/FDA says clinical tests/science (the thing we USED to trust) says it has a medical application, then NO vote should determine its efficacy – that is the AMA/FDA responsibility.

    I have no real strong feelings on the use of marijuana, medical or recreational. I believe the whole debate on prohibition exposes our society’s hypocrisy on the issues of sins and sin taxes. Most importantly I believe we all have a responsibility to vote to tear down any law that is SO rife with institutional racism in its practice of prosecution and incarceration.

  11. jerry 2020-09-30 11:53

    Donald Pay, I see several Wisconsin hospitals have stopped surgery procedures as the trump virus is now overtaking the hospital systems there. Death panels are here.

    “Some Wisconsin hospitals are resorting to wait-listing patients, or sending them to other facilities, as the state’s coronavirus surge continues to rage.

    Hospitals have been especially overwhelmed in Green Bay, Wausau and the Fox Valley, which are among the state’s latest COVID-19 hot spots.

    Officials at Bellin Hospital in Green Bay, for example, said the facility was at 94% capacity as of Tuesday, just days before a Saturday campaign rally for President Donald Trump that could draw thousands of supporters to the city.”

    The world sees us the US as a failed state and last night nailed it. Vote Blue and boot the trash out of our house.

  12. Bill Powers 2020-09-30 14:29

    Dicta: Just because Measure 26 lets doctors select marijuana as a medication does not mean that they ought to do so. According to Measure 26, medical use of the drug is restricted to “cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe, debilitating pain, severe nausea, seizures, or severe or persistent muscle spasms.” What I want to know is by what process these medical treatments were approved? It is true, that just because the voters approve them, it doesn’t mean that doctors have to obey them. Doctors rely, however, on some resource other than voters and people writing measures. They are not experts. They rely upon organizations like the FDA to advise them, and, I would hope, that they would continue to do so, independent of whether they are breaking the law or not.

  13. Bill Powers 2020-09-30 14:39

    I would be more supportive of Measure 26 if the measure left the determination as to when and where marijuana would be used for medical purposes up to the medical profession and organizations like the FDA.

  14. Dicta 2020-09-30 16:16

    But that is the point, Bill: we trust doctors to make prescriptions with other substances, many of which have insanely high potential for abuse. I don’t understand what makes weed such a destroyer of humanity that we can’t trust physicians to make that decision here. It is just another tool in their kit. I don’t want them relying on it to the exclusion of other treatments, but a wholsesale ban because granpappy doesn’t like hippies seems silly to me.

  15. leslie 2020-09-30 16:51

    Well, MDs still don’t understand substance abuse science. Addiction specialty is new in the last 5-10 yrs.

  16. Dicta 2020-09-30 17:25

    So remove physician ability to prescribe because they clearly cannot handle it. I mean, seriously: pick one.

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