Intrepid petition organizer and cannabis-liberty advocate announces a successful petition drive and an August 30 vote on a freer market for medical marijuana in Meade County!
(Previous installments of my adventures in Meade County, South Dakota, attempting to raise voter awareness of the Meade County Commission’s allotment of a medical cannabis license to a single favored licensee can be found on Dakota Free Press on May 7, May 10, May 13, May 17, June 14 and June 24.)
It was a rather anti-climactic moment. After eight weeks of sleepless nights and frantic days trying to keep petition circulators knocking on doors, one afternoon in late June, I realized that enough money can put an issue on the ballot on deadline. I saw it happen. It nearly all trickled past me on the way to circulators.
On July 5, I turned in 1340 signatures of Meade County voters who had asked for an election on whether the Meade County Commission could unilaterally decide that it could award a monopoly license to a licensee to sell a product on county jurisdiction. Rapid City attorney Nathan Chicoine presented them to the Meade County auditor that day.
My previous essays on this issue in this forum discussed the difficulty of obtaining about 1000 signatures to force a special election. After I had spent a significant amount of my sponsor’s money advertising the availability of a short-term job knocking on doors and asking folks if they would like to help, for $45-or-more per hour, I interviewed roughly 80 people and “hired” about 50.
Of those, about half never showed up for work. In the end, 18 circulators submitted signatures, with only 10 submitting numbers in double digits.
Nothing has come, so far, of the suspected attempted infiltration of my petition circulation crew by law enforcement. Perhaps I misread those encounters.
On July 11 my financial sponsor in the petition drive informed me that Meade County had certified the petition, and that the issue will appear on the August 30 ballot. On July 19, Deb Holland published a piece in the Black Hills Pioneer, saying:
The vote on the initiative petition is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 30. That is also the date residents of the Rural Meade Ambulance District will vote on a change in the boundaries of the district. Early voting is available now at the Meade County Auditor’s Office in the Erskine Building, 1300 West Sherman St., Sturgis [Deb Holland, “Meade County Residents to Vote on Upping Medical Cannabis Licenses,” Black Hills Pioneer, 2022.07.19].
Early voting is available now? I have heard the ballots aren’t even printed yet. Oh, wait, this is SNAFU, …er, Meade, that is, County.
Bob Newland—“His clipboard for hire meets the calling wind.”