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Guest Column: Bob Newland—Have Clipboard, Will Travel, Installment VII

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!

Bob Newland, addressing South Dakota Libertarian Party Convention, 2019.06.15.
Bob Newland, addressing South Dakota Libertarian Party Convention, 2019.06.15.

(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.”


  1. grudznick 2022-07-24 08:03

    Remember that young fellow who ran off with a sheet of signatures, laughing all the way, Bob? I’d sure like to find out what joints he might frequent for icy cold beverages or a hearty breakfast.

  2. Bob Newland 2022-07-24 10:52

    Hey, All! Your next assignment is to cause grudznutz as much pain as it causes others.

  3. W R Old Guy 2022-07-24 12:21

    I guess I will have to subscribe to the Black Hills Pioneer to find out what is happening in Meade County. I live in Meade County along the I-90 corridor and do not recall seeing any mention of the petition drive or upcoming election in the RCJ, The coverage of stories outside of Rapid City and Pennington County is sorely lacking in the RCJ. I can think of several locations for a dispensary that would meet requirements. in the Black Hawk, Summerset, Piedmont area.

  4. Arlo Blundt 2022-07-24 14:51

    Congratulations Bob…of such efforts springs forth true democracy…the rule of the people.

  5. Bob Newland 2022-07-24 20:22

    Well, Arlo, I appreciate the the hat-tip. I see my participation in the Meade County petition drive as having served me fairly well. I invested the money of a well-funded Missouri company in an endeavor that didn’t cross any deeply-ingrained convictions in my soul.

    Meade County’s allocating and awarding a monopoly license to sell cannabis products was designed to invite a challenge. Few, if any, South Dakota-based entrepreneurs are both inclined and liquid enough to mount such a challenge.

    It happened that Greenlight Corp. and I got together and worked out an amiable relationship. They gave me money. I applied the money and delivered a product.

    There are boundaries I won’t cross. I couldn’t, for example, be given enough money to promote any of SoDak’s current congressional delegation or it’s governor.

  6. Bob Newland 2022-07-24 20:24

    Damn! It really annoys me when I type “its,” and it shows up as “it’s.”

  7. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-07-25 07:43

    Yeah, it’s soooooo infuriating when that sneaky apostrophe inserts itself without warning.
    My biggest grammatical gripe is how come I never learned the proper usage of “lay” and “lie.” Must’ve been out sick that day, and now I’m too lazy to learn. And don’t get me started on hyphenization. Grrr.

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-07-25 08:36

    WROG—I’ll bet those freedom-loving folks in the Black Hawk–Summerset–Piedmont metro area would love to open several medicinal dispensaries to promote the general welfare of their residents and their visitors.

  9. John Dale 2022-07-25 14:42

    I feel like a group of drunk turtles ridden by half retarded monkeys could have typed a more sensical article.

    You might be asking yourself .. would the turtles or the monkeys be doing the typing? *

    I have no idea.

    Ask bob.

    I still can’t buy weed legally because leadership (those with the money) poked the bear and stirred up the true power base against the issue.

    There is some hope, however, because South Dakota voters will have a chance to vote to treat themselves like an adult with an initiative more closely resembling what we should have advocated in the first place.

    Boy howdy did we piss away an s-ton of cash getting to this point.

    CC4L For The Win (warning, the following contains information about the heart and soul of the SD cannabis legalization movement):

    * this is humor and harmless barbing, if you’re into starting holy wars because somebody made a joke, you should get on one of Elon’s rockets and go bury your consternation somewhere in Uranus.

  10. larry kurtz 2022-07-25 15:04

    Despite lies from the South Dakota Republican Party video lootery, payday loan sharks, domestic violence and homelessness are inextricably linked putting children at risk to more catastrophic consequences far more often than has happened in states that have legalized or lessened penalties for casual use of cannabis.

    So my position today is that the tribes must have exclusive production and distribution privileges. 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 the get the hell out of the way.

  11. Dicta 2022-07-25 15:04

    “I feel like a group of drunk turtles ridden by half retarded monkeys could have typed a more sensical article.”

    I’ve been telling you can seek help for your feelings and I really think you should.

  12. larry kurtz 2022-07-25 17:09

    Montana is the only red state where the cannabis program is operating without continual upheaval.

    But, last year Montana’s Republican legislature passed regulations that restrict each tribal nation to a single permit to cultivate and market cannabis. Under state law tribes aren’t even allowed to build facilities on their own reservations but in defiance, the Apsáalooke or Crow Nation maintains that as sovereign it doesn’t need permission from state authorities and so far no tribe has even bothered to apply.

  13. P. Aitch 2022-07-25 17:58

    Coming Soon … Greenlight Cannabis Retail Stores
    Deadwood #1 • SD
    Deadwood #2 • SD
    Gregory • SD
    Cambell/Rapid City • SD
    Deadwood Ave/Rapid City • SD
    Timmons/Rapid City • SD

  14. grudznick 2022-07-26 17:21

    That Mr. Cotton fellow in the congress sure wants to pass some bills to smite hard on the purveyors of the Demon Weed, and is sure to put a stopper in some of this mess.

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