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Anti-Pot Committee Misrepresents IM 27 and Past Marijuana Measures Under Guide of Protecting Kids

Catholic Social Services of Rapid City exec Jim Kinyon and Jesus-y District 4 Representative Fred Deutsch (R-4/Florence) have launched a ballot question committee to fight Initiated Measure 27, the marijuana legalization measure South Dakotans will vote on this November. Kinyon and Deutsch call their committee “Protecting South Dakota Kids“.

Kids, grass, trouble—Protecting South Dakota Kids, home page, screen cap 2022.08.25.
Kids, grass, trouble—Protecting South Dakota Kids, home page, screen cap 2022.08.25.

Wait a minute: I’m checking the text of IM 27 for the part that hands kids pot…

Section 2. …This chapter does not affect laws that otherwise regulate:

(1) Delivery or distribution of marijuana or marijuana accessories, with or without consideration, to a person younger than twenty-one years of age;

(2) Purchase, possession, use, or transport of marijuana or marijuana accessories by a person younger than twenty-one years of age;

(3) Consumption of marijuana by a person younger than twenty-one years of age;…

(7) Possession or consumption of marijuana or possession of marijuana accessories on the grounds of a public or private preschool, elementary school, or high school, in a school bus, or on the grounds of any correctional facility;….

Section 4.… Subject to the limitations in this chapter, and notwithstanding any other law, the following acts, if done by a person at least twenty-one years of age, may not be an offense under state or local law, regulation, or ordinance; be subject to a civil fine, penalty, or sanction; be a basis for detention, search, or arrest; be a basis for the denial of any right or privilege; or be a basis for asset seizure or forfeiture:

…(3) Assisting another person who is at least twenty-one years of age, or allowing property to be used, in any of the acts permitted by this section; and

(4) Possessing, using, delivering, distributing, manufacturing, transferring, or selling to persons twenty-one years of age or older marijuana accessories.

Section 5.… A person who commits the following acts is subject to a civil penalty not exceeding the amount specified:

…(4) Is under twenty-one years of age and possesses, uses, ingests, inhales, transports, delivers without consideration or distributes without consideration one ounce or less of marijuana or possesses, delivers without consideration, or distributes without consideration marijuana accessories, one hundred dollars. The person shall be provided the option of attending up to four hours of drug education or counseling in lieu of the civil penalty [Initiated Measure 27, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, retrieved 2022.08.25].

So Initiated Measure 27 would leave marijuana illegal for anyone under 21, just like alcohol.  IM 27 would leave in place legal penalties for anyone who pushes pot on kids, just like alcohol. Deutsch’s fellow legislators have been setting a far worse example for kids through their alcohol abuse than through pot-smoking, but he and addiction counselor Kinyon aren’t leading any charge to ban adults from endangering children by the far riskier activity of consuming alcohol. (To his credit, Rep. Deutsch did vote against 2016 Senate Bill 102, which allowed alcohol sales on our Regental campi, where kids going to watch Jackrabbit and Coyote football may now be surrounded by the “more vibrant atmosphere” created by beer-drinking fans.)

But PSDK chair Kinyon, whose Catholic Church has its own issues with protecting children, and PSDK treasurer Deutsch, who meets kids on social media and shows inordinate interest in their bathroom activities, put up a banner of kids running through grass and whip out a fun mix of grooming language and prairie xenophobia to tell people IM 27 will harm children:

We need your support to fight off New York City Hedge Fund Managers and a well-funded, out-of-state pot lobby that has invested millions to “educate” South Dakotans about the “merits” of their product while seeking access to our kids, our families, and our communities [Protecting South Dakota Kids, home page, retrieved 2022.08.25].

The ten stories about people allegedly harmed by marijuana use all come from out of state as well. Should we be as concerned about the out-of-state anti-pot lobby seeking to “educate” South Dakota voters?

Deutsch hates democracy and the initiative process, but the committee he treasures invokes past initiative votes against marijuana to justify rejecting IM 27. Amusingly, PSDK cites 2006 and 2010 rejections of statewide marijuana initiatives to back its case while denying the validity of the 2020 vote for marijuana liberalization as an invalid result of advertising trickery:

In 2006 and in 2010 South Dakotans soundly defeated recreational pot initiatives. In 2020, 1.6 million dollars of propaganda was funded from out-of-state to mislead voters on the “merits” of legalizing recreational pot. Big commercial marijuana interest and money from radicals dumped millions into our state [PSDK, retrieved 2022.08.25].

Check that: 2006 Initiative 4 was for medical marijuana, not recreational as PSDK claims. 2010 Initiative 13 was for medical marijuana, not recreational as PSDK claims.

In another misrepresentation, PSDK claims that IM 27, “which out-of-state marijuana corporations wrote,” will only fine “violators… $100 for distributing to our kids.” As shown above, Section 5 of IM 21 does cap the civil penalty for pot peddlers under 21 to $100, but Section 2 leaves in places laws imposing criminal penalties on pot peddlers of all ages, including SDCL 22-42-7, which makes distribution of any amount of marijuana to minors a felony; handing kids even the most diminutive doobie could land the hander in the pen for two years with a fine of $4,000.

But projecting like good Republicans, PSDK says on its falsehood-riddled website, “Help us tell the marijuana industry to stay out of South Dakota and we will not be fooled by their lies.” Watch for more fact-frayed foolery wrapped in paranoid kiddie-love from Kinyon, Deutsch, and the anti-pot agitators.


  1. P. Aitch 2022-08-25

    Stay away from South Dakota children, Fred Deutsch!

  2. All Mammal 2022-08-25

    How much tomfoolery have South Dakotans endured against our wills? These bungholes are wasting time working against the people they were hired to represent. Fire them already. Their time is meant to be dedicated doing whatever it takes to please their boss.. psst,That’d be us..I will be continuing my, some might call provocative, tactics to inform anyone and everyone to VOTE. As of now, although I am proud of our victory over C and El Crappy Tan(other states get the credit for that one), I am embarrassed by what we have a reputation of electing. We need to be represented by candidates we know in our hearts work for us. Even if we say we want our cheeks stapled together. They better get to work.

  3. Donald Pay 2022-08-25

    Well, yeah, we’ve done such a good job of keeping alcohol out of the reach of teenagers, we might as well add pot to the mix. Look, I think they have identified a valid issue, but it’s true of booze as well. Just because a law says kids can’t imbibe, doesn’t mean kids won’t imbibe, whether it’s pot or booze. Right now, booze is the far bigger problem, so should we prohibit the sale of beer, wine and hard liquor?

    When I was a teen in the 60s, our drug of choice was whatever we could get. Usually that was beer, and 3.2 beer was easiest to get. You would have to piss a lot for a minimal buzz. I was happy my daughter was addicted to debate, so she stayed away from booze and dope in her high school years. And that’s the problem I have with many of these anti-drug conservatives. They short money to schools, so schools cut activities, and then they wonder why kids get blitzed.

  4. Loti 2022-08-25

    So Many grocery stores in South Dakota are lined with Alcoholic drinks. They are also in the cold section Near soda and juice. Many children pass by all this when taken to shop for food. I was amazed by this Big display of Booze visiting in Hot Springs, SD. Oh but wait, its the Veterans town. $$$.

  5. bearcreekbat 2022-08-25

    One of the more long lasting and somewhat difficult ethical questions has often been “do the ends justify the means?’ That was the premise in the trolley question (should you kill one person in order to save five other people), among many other ethical dilemmas.

    While saving lives is certainly a universally accepted ethical goal, here it is debatable whether the ends sought by Catholic Social Services of Rapid City and Fred Deutsch are ethically appropriate matters to even pursue. Assuming for the sake of argument that they believe this goal to be ethical, what does not seem debatable is the fact that the means they are using to achieve their desired ends is unethical. Intentionally lying about and misrepresenting historical facts has never been acceptable in any ethical construct that I am aware of. Thus they have openly chosen to use unethical means (lying) to achieve what they believe to be an ethical end (keeping marijuana a crime because they somehow have optimistically concluded jailing users makes it more difficult for youth to obtain marijuana).

    I wonder whether future philosophers conclude that the Trump/Noem era has developed a new ethical system whereby former unethical means, such as openly lying, have been transformed into appropriate ethical choices for Catholics and elected representatives. And given attitudes about the ethics of the January 6 attack on Congress, as well as Trump’s claim that he could murder someone and not lose any voters, the ethics of lying apparently is not the only formerly unethical behavior that now may be in transition.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-25

    Thinking about Loti’s comment, I have no doubt that the marijuana industry, if allowed the same access to South Dakota consumers as the alcohol industry, will behave exactly like the alcohol industry does and like the tobacco industry did before we cracked down on their harmful product. They’ll saturate the public mindspace with advertising to reach children and make them think their product is not just normal and fun but essential to having a good time. They’ll lobby and contribute to legislators and work to protect and expand their market share through the political process. They’ll seek public influence to prevent anyone from suggesting we return to regulating their industry.

    But the law does not do what the Kinyon/Deutsch group says it does. And legalizing marijuana appears to do nothing worse than what alcohol already does to children in South Dakota. Alcohol contributes to the scenes of homelessness that PSDK depicts in downtown Denver. Alcohol contributes to far more fatal car wrecks and domestic abuse.

  7. Nix 2022-08-26

    Let’s not fog the media with facts!
    PSDK is inventing boogeymen that
    do not exist.
    The South Dakota death rate from alcohol is 17.4 per 100,000.
    The National average is 9.9 per
    100,000 people.
    That’s 147 people per year dying from
    Alcohol in South Dakota.
    Over 12 people per month. One every other day.
    We build and advertise Big Booze stores
    so you can buy all the alcohol you can
    Yet Kinyon and Deutsch want you to think
    that Cannabis is the problem when in fact
    the problem is that PSDK is lying to people to bolster their B. S.
    There has never been a drug so destructive as alcohol, so if you want to really make a difference, ban alcohol
    From Cannabis ingestion EVER.
    PDSK is having a sh*t fit over a brush fire
    when the barn is burning.
    Proven fact, Cannabis has medical benefits.
    PSDK-Stay the hell out of my life.

  8. Carl Morris 2022-10-20

    Why one ounce? That is like limiting a person’s liquor cabinet to just a few options. Maybe that’s a good idea…Can you imagine trying to enforce that though? If this thing fails, try again and don’t limit it to anything. It would make law enforcement’s job a whole lot easier

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