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Derby Sees Broader Marijuana Legalization as Route to Less Government and More Taxes

If the South Dakota Legislature legalizes marijuana for all adults, we can cancel our medical marijuana program. So figures Representative Mike Derby (R-34/Rapid City), who, like a good Republican, just wants less government:

“When you look at other states the medical was able to roll out first and created a business model for that,” Derby says. “The other states, when adult use was passed, the medical side of the business almost went away.”

…“If you can have access to a dispensary for adult use, then why have a duplication of rules and regulations run by two different departments?” Derby says [Lee Strubinger, “Medical Marijuana Cards Coming Out as Lawmakers Try to Kill Program,” SDPB Radio, 2021.10.25].

Of course, in this case, achieving less government may require a 163-section bill which would repeal 95 statutes while creating 61 new statutes and amending 7 others. And among those new sections would be (Sections 62–68) a 15% tax on marijuana, including medical:

“We want to make sure it’s licensed, that it’s tested, keep it out of the hands of children, that there’s a taxation mechanism,” Derby says. “By having it go toward the adult use side, there’s an excise tax. There’s a taxation method that’s not there with medical [cannabis].”

Cannabis supporters say medical marijuana should not be taxed.

Matthew Schweich is with South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws.

“And as a matter of principle, we think that medical marijuana patients should not pay tax and that it’s understandable there would be a tax on recreational sales that should be a reasonable tax,” Schweich says.

That’s because those who qualify for medical cannabis deal with chronic illness and disabilities [Strubinger, 2021.10.25].

Less government, but more taxes? It sounds like Representative Derby has a Republican conundrum to resolve


  1. larry kurtz 2021-10-27 07:42

    The Family Heritage Alliance, a conservative group with a large following in South Dakota, estimates video lootery costs the state far more in real dollars than it generates in revenue yet the governor says cannabis is bad. If their numbers are accurate video lootery costs the state at least $280 million each year.

    Proving irony is dead the red moocher state that routinely legislates against reproductive rights is dragging its feet on legal cannabis for white people by saying lawyers can’t serve the cannabis industry because it’s illegal under federal law.

    Let’s be clear: Republicans are scared tribal nations are finding the cannabis industry to be a way to recover from the horrors of being trapped in red states and will do anything, even legalize cultivation and distribution for anyone to prevent that.

    Still believe the Second Amendment is absolute?

    Think again.

    There are some 43,000 patients registered in Minnesota’s therapeutic cannabis program including State Representative Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake) who has multiple sclerosis. He can’t renew his permit to carry or even fire a gun legally so he wants to change Minnesota’s laws to remove the herb from his state’s schedule that places it on the same level as heroin and LSD.

    Minnesota’s Republican-dominated legislature just passed a law that allows adults in the state’s therapeutic cannabis program to purchase raw flower and smoke it increasing participation while significantly driving down costs.

    But, until Congress legalizes on the federal level you still can’t buy a gun if you admit being addicted to cannabis so the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) will make sure you lose your Second Amendment rights if you admit to an addiction to cannabis, therapeutic or otherwise. “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, [cannabis] or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?”

    A similar conflict is already occurring in my home state of South Dakota now that the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe is dispensing cannabis from its operation in the southeastern part of that state but why anyone would want to be on Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s dope list remains a mystery. If the Neanderthal South Dakota Legislature had any integrity or ethics (they don’t) they would empower Indigenous communities to be the sole producers and marketers of legal cannabis in the state (they won’t). But, since the perpetual welfare state is owned by the out of state Republicans who make the laws tribes will lose out to white people once again.

  2. Mark Anderson 2021-10-27 08:43

    Cannabis will get you higher, medical, not so much. That should go with taxes too.

  3. jerry 2021-10-27 10:15

    Mr. Kurtz, Big beer and alcohol work diligently with legislators to keep their profit margins high. Makes you wonder how a leader, South Dakota senator, can get their arrest records sealed for driving drunk, then arrested. While not to be outdone, a Kansas senate leader, drives drunk, 90 mph, going the wrong way on the interstate and gets two days in jail. Added bonus, the Kansas senator told the arresting officer that he would and could “kick is ass”.

    Don’t get me started on the Lt. Governor of South Dakota. Our little can of worms will do all that is possible to gum up the works on what the majority voted for.

  4. larry kurtz 2021-10-27 10:33

    Little surprises me anymore, Jerry, especially when Republicans seize the rudder at the ship of state. That Bill Janklow had George Mickelson’s plane sabotaged is a story still not yet written.

    South Dakota’s path into darkness can only get spookier.

  5. Ryan 2021-10-27 10:33

    Mark – what?

  6. Dakota roots 2021-10-27 11:53

    Jerry, our Kansas senate leader also got his dui reduced to careless/ wreckless driving, a dui in Kansas would be a felony which would prevent him from running for office..

  7. Porter Lansing 2021-10-27 12:24

    “If you can have access to a dispensary for adult use, then why have a duplication of rules and regulations run by two different departments?”

    Because, medical is for locals and recreational is for tourists.

    Locals, buying medical, pay half as much tax.

    Also, medical gives the old weed dealers a way to maintain a side hustle, selling to their friends at a price lower than recreational.

    Take that to the bank, grudzie. #grins

  8. jerry 2021-10-27 12:30

    Mike Derby knows where his bread is buttered. I’ve always thought and said that if we would at least match and maybe increase the grift by 10%, we could then get things done here. In republican land, only bribes and grifts work to get things done.

  9. larry kurtz 2021-10-27 13:34

    That South Dakota’s kleptocratic legislature would continue to criminalize home growing makes sure the law enforcement industry and police unions get their cut.

    It does seem surprising more municipalities or countries don’t want to control the entire cultivation to market just like the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe is doing.

  10. Porter Lansing 2021-10-27 13:38

    BTW ~ If your con-artist Governor Noem doesn’t trust the legislature, there’s no reason your little towns should, either.

    Set up a system where at least three different agencies are in charge of auditing the money and each is charged with checking on the other two.

    Here’s how the loot is divided up in Colorado (the gold standard nationwide for fairness and safety) and why.

    Retail Sales Tax
    Local governments will receive 10% of the 15% retail marijuana state sales tax. The 10% will be divided among local governments. The calculation will be based on the amount of retail marijuana sales taxes in the local jurisdiction. The city or town share will be apportioned according to the percentage of retail marijuana sales tax revenues collected by the Department of Revenue within the boundaries of the city or town. Counties will not receive any retail marijuana sales tax revenue, unless there is a retail marijuana store in an unincorporated area. The distribution will be monthly. This is similar to cigarette tax distributions to local governments. Please note that since the distribution is based on a percentage of retail marijuana sales tax revenue collected within the boundaries of a city, town, or unincorporated area of a county versus the total retail marijuana sales tax revenues collected, the monthly percentage to each eligible jurisdiction is not a static amount, but will vary based on total retail marijuana sales tax revenues and the amount of retail marijuana sales tax collected in each jurisdiction.

  11. John 2021-10-27 13:43

    Why should medical cannabis evade taxes? We tax my aspirin, acetaminophen, etc. Similar thing / function.

  12. Porter Lansing 2021-10-27 13:59


    Are your prescription medicines taxed?

    BTW – The Republican SD Supreme Court just ruled that Republicans in Pierre don’t have to disclose what happens in their “secret meetings”.

    Whoa, Adolph

  13. Porter Lansing 2021-10-27 14:02

    As An Aside …

    If cannabis is prescribed by a doctor then it falls within the category of medicine that is Medicare and Medicaid regulated, for seniors.

    Just a preview of when weed is legal, nationwide.

  14. ArloBlundt 2021-10-27 14:07

    Well..Larry, not Janklow, but in a round about way, Walter Dale Miller who, as Senate leader prevented Janklow from replacing the Mitsubishi. The plane didn’t need to be sabotaged. It was just a very dangerous plane. Look ir up.

  15. larry kurtz 2021-10-27 14:21

    Thanks AB, it’s always good to have fresh eyes on the story. It’s my working hypothesis Gov. Mickelson had the goods on Wild Bill. I played poker a couple of times with Gov. Miller in Deadwood; he seemed like just another rancher from Pennington County.

  16. ArloBlundt 2021-10-27 14:47

    Larry-When Walter Dale was Senate Leader and Joe Barnett House Speaker they liked to try to keep Janklow from running roughshod over the legislature by opposing certain things that he definitely wanted….just not bringing them to the floor. One was the replacement of the Mitsubishi, a plane Janklow did not like to fly in, a plane with a suspect safety record, and a plane that took two pilots to fly. State employees were leery of flying in it as it would vibrate and shimmy in mid air or so it seems. I never rode in it, In the legislature that year, Walter Dale just refused to bring up replacing the Mitsubishi for a vote and didn’t include it in the Governor’s budget. “Uncle Joe” did the same as I recall. The session ended with no action taken. It was said that Janklow wouldn’t ride in the Mitsubishi even though it was the only state plane large enough to transport groups. Mickelson and several others died in the Mitsubishi…Walter Dale, then Lr. Governor, became Governor. I consider it coincidental, not malicious.

  17. Mark Anderson 2021-10-27 15:17

    Ryan, tax cannibus, not medical cannibus. Two different things.

  18. larry kurtz 2021-10-27 15:37

    Thanks again for the sidebar, AB.

  19. larry kurtz 2021-10-27 16:19

    An old friend would be calling these home grow rules, “pole-vaulting over mouse turds.”

  20. grudznick 2021-10-27 20:46

    Those rules are just like pole-vaulting over mouse turds.

  21. larry kurtz 2021-10-27 21:11

    In a perfect world no one would ever overgod the devil’s lettuce.

  22. Ryan 2021-10-29 09:06

    mark – do you realize that medical pot and recreational pot are identical? one doesn’t get you higher than the other. the only difference is paperwork, not chemical make-up or effect.

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