Marijuana advocate Bob Newland has written two columns—May 7 and May 10—on his petition drive to have Meade County vote on issuing more than one medical marijuana vending license and his own history with marijuana and the law. Today he seeks recruits for his petition drive and offers to pay them handsomely. And while I didn’t ask him to, he sends me money for posting his business proposition.
As you know from my previous columns, I am a hired gun, hired by an out-of-state entity to right a wrong in said county. The wrong is the allocation of a single retail license allowing a business operator to have a monopoly within a given jurisdiction. The right will be settled by the voters, eventually, maybe. NOTHING is as it seems in Meade County.
But then, that is probably true in any jurisdiction. I have only had the opportunity to scrape back the cuticles of a couple or three, and I have found the same maggots of opportunism in all. It is, I think, just the way it is. We can try to hold the situation at a reasonable level of corruption by occasionally challenging a blatant violation of republican values, or we can ignore it and hope it doesn’t get worse.
Again, just in case you’re too lazy to chase down the details by clicking to previous installments, I and those I have hired must deliver 1,150 petition signatures (930 in the strict interpretation of the law, a couple hundred for padding) of voters registered in Meade County, South Dakota by about July 1. The signatures attest to their owners’ belief that the residents of Meade County should be allowed to vote on whether there should be at least three licenses to operate a medical cannabis facility in Meade County available, or only the one already let to Puffy’s, a Rapid City-based corporation.
I’ve been calling on businesses and circulating the bars in Sturgis since May 1. I have obtained about 250 signatures which match the Meade County Voter List (for which I paid $100.00). I greet with, “Hi. I’m circulating a petition to induce the Meade County Commission to allow more than one medical cannabis dispensary in the county. Would you like to help us?”
Among those who don’t immediately tell me to get lost (15%), and who CLAIM to be registered to vote in Meade County, about 85% sign the petition. SoDak video casinos, bars, and convenience stores provide almost a sure signature or two on any of repeat visits. There is a finite amount of these in Meade County. I have now reached a threshold of having obtained the easiest signatures. I soon will have to start door-to-dooring in Meade County. Many doors are a long way from the next door.
The folks who bought my clipboard expertise have recently offered me an incentive to increase the speed of signature accumulation. That tells me that they are intent on acquiring the leverage of demanding a special election on whether the County should be able to allocate a monopoly. If the signature requirement is reached by July 1, the principals of this petition drive will be able to demand a special election 60 days hence. That would make possible a special election about a month prior to the general election already scheduled for November 8.
This campaign is characterized by out-of-state money being poured into an attempt to change in-state laws to the possible benefit of the sources of the out-of-state money. The volume of this out-of-state influence in terms of dollars is a direct result of G. Marky Mickelson’s (and subsequent disciples thereof) attack on South Dakota’s initiative and referendum requirements-for-validity. This is what the authoritarian ruling political party of SoDak created in its snit over the vote in 2016 that outlined a few ethical boundaries for folks elected to public office. I am a beneficiary, of sorts, of their idiocy and arrogance.
I am being paid a reasonable, but pretty impressive-to-me, sum to spend most of my time for six to eight weeks to contribute to righting a wrong. I find it offensive that I must take folks’ money to actually have to ask people to write their names on a stupid piece of paper to ask for a vote on what is obviously a wrong.
Why? Why would the Meade County Commission grant only one license to dispense a legal and obviously popular product in a single location in a rather remote corner of the largest county in SoDak? This is a textbook illustration of the word “wrong.”
If you know someone who might like to make $75 an hour presenting people with an opportunity to use their citizenship and voter status in Meade County SoDak to help me obtain signatures, please let me know. This opportunity will diminish within a few days.
I have run several petition drives in SoDak. This one is the easiest “Lemme Sign” drive I have ever been connected with. I just don’t want to have to call on (possibly) 20000 residences all alone, and I’ll pay for your company. My loss is your (or your western-south-dakota-friend’s) gain.
I want to say at this point that my relationship with the Meade County Auditor’s office, with which any Meade County voter document must have a relationship, has been entirely pleasurable. We’ll see.
His Clipboard for Hire Meets the Calling Wind
(Dakota Free Press has been compensated for this in-line ad.)