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Pot vs. Dope: SF Billboard Notes Marijuana Got More Votes Than Kristi Noem

When a Governor has made two different groups mad enough to spend money on billboards criticizing her more than a year before the election, she may be electoral trouble.

Last weekend, family and friends of National Guard members rented billboard space in Rapid City to protest Governor Kristi Noem’s pimping out our National Guard for an ideological photo opp at the border. I hear those same folks have put up the same billboard this week in Sioux Falls around 41st and Louise. Now it appears another group has lodged another billboard protest against Noem on another issue across town at 14th and Cliff:

What's more popular, marijuana or Kristi Noem? Billboard at 14th and Cliff, Sioux Falls, SD; from Twitter pic, 2021.07.14.
What’s more popular, marijuana or Kristi Noem? Billboard at 14th and Cliff, Sioux Falls, SD; from Twitter pic, 2021.07.14.

More South Dakotans voted for marijuana than for Kristi Noem—true! In 2020, 291,754 South Dakotans voted for Initiated Measure 26 to legalize medical marijuana and 225,260 South Dakotans voted for Amendment A to constitutionalize recreational marijuana and industrial hemp. In 2018, the last time Kristi Noem faced the voters, 172,912 South Dakotans voted for her to become Governor.

Of course, 2020 and 2018 were different elections. 2020 was a Presidential election so more South Dakotans turned out to vote, making a straight numerical comparison somewhat unfair. But even on percentages, the billboard’s claim holds up: IM 26 got 69.92% of the 2020 vote and Amendment A got 54.18%, while Noem barely won the 2018 election with 50.97% of the vote.

Noem did get more votes than Amendment A once, in 2016, when she won reëlection to Congress over Paula Hawks with 237,163 votes. She also beat Amendment A’s percentage three times, in 2016 (66.5%), 2014 (57.4%), and 2012 (57.4%).

Noem and marijuana have been up for votes at the same election just once, in 2010, when Noem first ran for Congress and Initiated Measure 13 offered us medical marijuana. That year, Noem got more votes than marijuana: while Noem ousted Stephanie Herseth Sandlin from Congress with 153,703 votes (48.12%), medical marijuana drew only 115,667 votes (36.69%). But the 2010 election was a whole different time, with Noem riding her horsegirl looks and the angry white backlash against President Obama to Congress and the national retreat from the war on reefer just beginning. And vote tallies from long past elections don’t amount to a hill of beans next to the tallies from the most recent elections establishing current mandates.

The 14th and Cliff billboard is thus correct: according to recent electoral history, marijuana is more popular in South Dakota than Kristi Noem. Or to paraphrase one Tweeter, South Dakotans prefer pot to dopes.

I am trying to track down the buyers of the billboard. The claimer at bottom left appears to read “Paid for by Greens for a Better South Dakota,” but that “Greens” is unclear in this photo. No group with a similar name has filed a communication expenditure disclosure with the Secretary of State.


  1. Bill Kennedy 2021-07-15 07:07

    Love it !!!

  2. John Dale 2021-07-15 08:37

    Is it lost on everyone that Noem’s gubernatorial victory has been enacted? ;)

    Noem’s handling of Marijuana policy respects the fact that she is not a dictator, and there is a body politic that she must consider.

    In that regard, she has been immaculately conservative.

  3. Jake 2021-07-15 10:16

    John Dale: “Immaculately conservative”–doesn’t this also mean “acting true to conservative NORMS”? Thus being among the first always, with a hand out for someone else’s money (from the fed piggy bank) but immediately after getting a big handful of dollars, crying “Democratic ‘SOCIALISM’! like a spoiled brat!!!
    This just recently after causing a huge bump in national debt by giving a trillion $$ to the upper 1% in tax cuts and cutting the IRS budget so they have 30% less auditors looking at the upper 1% tax returns. We’re talking big billions of dollars NOT going into the treasury BECAUSE of Republican governance under Trump.

  4. Ryan 2021-07-15 10:36

    Gawd bless the internet! I can’t quite make out the attribution line at the bottom, either, but I will try to drive by later and see if I can get a better look.

  5. cibvet 2021-07-15 13:46

    Lag and drag kristi. I will be surprised if medical MJ is inacted or cards issued this year.

  6. jerry 2021-07-15 15:20

    Democrats draft to legalize pot, damn straight.
    “July 14, 2021
    WASHINGTON — Senator Chuck Schumer of New York proposed ambitious legislation on Wednesday to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, putting his weight as majority leader behind a growing movement to unwind the decades-old war on drugs.

    The draft bill, called the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and begin regulating and taxing it, placing new federal rules on a burgeoning industry that has faced years of uncertainty. Though states would still be allowed to set their own marijuana laws, businesses and individuals in states that have legalized its use would be free for the first time to sell and consume without the risk of federal punishment.” New York Times 7.14.21

  7. Willy 2021-07-15 16:18

    John Dale believes in Q, Alex Jones, and Noem. Well, I guess we know that he’s consistent in his idiocy.

  8. Lottie 2021-07-16 22:58

    I gotta say KN is not a so good governor but a great comedy act. Give her some credit.

  9. Porter Lansing 2021-07-17 07:32

    For Lottie

    Way to go, Governor Noem.

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