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Meade County Rejects More Dispensaries for Risky Drug Pushed by Big Corporations

I notice Bob Newland’s petition efforts went for naught, as Meade County voters came to the polls on August 30 to reject the proposal Newland’s employers initiated to break the Puffy’s monopoly and allow multiple medical cannabis licenses in Meade County. The initiative failed with 719 votes for and 1426 against.

Maybe that rejection is for the best. Another Black Hills reader sends this article alleging that the addiction industry has cranked marijuana into a psychosis-inducing super-drug:

Prior to legalization, marijuana plants were bred to produce higher and higher concentrations of THC, a naturally occuring chemical compound in the plant that induces euphoria and alters users’ perceptions of reality. In the 1960s, the stuff the hippies were smoking was less than 2% THC. By the ’90s, it was closer to 5%. By 2015, it was over 20%. “It’s a freak plant that resembles nothing of what has existed in nature,” said Laura Stack, a public speaker who has advocated against the industry since her son, Johnny, killed himself three years ago at 19 years old after years of cannabis abuse drove him into psychosis.

…If you’re over 30 years old and you used to smoke weed when you were a teenager, the strongest you were smoking was probably 20% THC. Today, teenagers are “dabbing” a product that’s three, four, or five times stronger, and are often doing so multiple times a day. At that level of potency, the impact of the drug on a user’s brain belongs to an entirely different category of risk than smoking a joint or taking a bong rip of even an intensively bred marijuana flower. It’s highly addictive, and over time, there’s a significant chance it can drive you insane.

…“One out of every 20 daily users can expect to develop schizophrenia if they don’t quit,” Dr. Christine Miller, an expert on psychotic disorders, told me [Leighton Woodhouse, “How Weed Became the New OxyContin,” Tablet, 2022.08.30].

The corporations pushing this new dangerous addiction appear to be the usual suspects:

To imagine the market potential for a legal, highly addictive drug, all you have to do is look at the colossal success of the industries that pioneered the addiction business: tobacco, alcohol, and pharmaceuticals. Today, all three are heavily invested in cannabis. In 2019, Altria, the parent company of Marlboro cigarettes, acquired 45% of Cronos, one of the world’s biggest cannabis companies. Constellation Brands, a major alcohol conglomerate, has billions invested in Canopy, another cannabis company. Last year, Jazz Pharmaceuticals acquired GW Pharmaceuticals, the company that makes one of the four FDA-approved, cannabis-derived drugs. Even a former CEO of Purdue Pharma, the company that made OxyContin, co-founded a medical marijuana company called Emblem after helping to create the modern opioid epidemic.

“People think it’s a miracle drug, that it’s nonaddictive, that it helps with cancer and anxiety,” said Jordan Davidson, who recovered from cannabis addiction and now works for Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which advocates against the expansion of the cannabis industry. “It’s more like Big Tobacco 2.0” [Woodhouse, 2022.08.30].

I have my suspicions about the disingenuous conservative theocrats fighting Initiated Measure 27’s legalization of marijuana under the pretense of protecting kids. But I also have my suspicions about the drugs peddled by big corporations. Maybe the suspicions harbored by the majority of poll respondents who oppose legalizing marijuana in South Dakota aren’t too far off the mark.

I’m not crazy about marijuana, and I’d rather not go crazy from it. No matter how many stores Meade County has for medical cannabis, and no matter how much pot South Dakotans may legalize with their vote on Initiated Measure 27 this November, I won’t be adding the demon weed to my shopping list.


  1. grudznick 2022-09-13 10:36

    My good friend from Hot Springs has to deal with much disappointment but at least he made some bank without having to be a corporate Narc for a while. If only that young fellow from Lead had not run off with a clipboard of signatures…

  2. larry kurtz 2022-09-13 10:38

    I’m in the barn legally trimming buds so South Dakota’s spasms over cannabis seem so cretinous.

  3. Bob Newland 2022-09-13 10:57

    I don’t give a Pat Powers about the dispensary vote in Meade County. A carpet- bagging cannabis opportunist was mildly disappointed.

    I, on the other hand, met some cool people and distributed a nice sum of money to them. I also kept my record–about seven cannabis ballot issue defeats–perfect.

  4. Anthony 2022-09-13 12:00

    You really REALLY need to separate the Medical Cannabis vs Recreational issues.

    As Recreational goes, I have no dog in this fight. I was a Deadhead in the 80’s and I smoked my share (and several other people’s shares) back then. I tried it again when I was in a state where it was legal and found that at my age all I do is go to sleep for 10 hours. Personally, I think Alcohol has proven to be worse for people and society than weed has…but that’s it’s own thing.

    Medical Cannabis is a different thing.
    My wife is a chronic pain patient and has been on morphine and heavy muscle relaxants. When on them she could move, but she was out of it and there was the very real chance that I’d come home from work and find her dead. She is off them now and it has her VERY limited physically. We were in California she had 1/2 an edible a day and she was able to function like a normal person. She wasn’t pain free, but it was close to her being on strong opioids and high power muscle relaxants.
    If the choice is a psychoactively and physically addictive substance that has a very real chance of killing you vs a psychoactively addictive substance that won’t as likely kill you – guess which one is probably better?

    Is it a miracle drug? No. There is no such thing as a miracle drug.
    Does it have potential to help people with chronic pain in a safer fashion than opioids? Yes
    Will it help some people who have negative reactions to some anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications? Again, yes.
    But like every other treatment, it needs to be monitored, managed, and evaluated with the help of a Doctor and a good, reliable, quality controlled supply.

  5. P. Aitch 2022-09-13 15:14

    Leighton Woodhouse, Dr. Christine Miller, and Laura Stack have all been making a living for decades on the fears they incite about Big Business doing exactly what they’re doing.

  6. 96Tears 2022-09-13 15:57

    From the Wayback Machine, I remember smoking joints with college friends, ordering pizzas and drinking Miller High Life in ponies. Lots of laughs and no hangovers or addictions. All of that ended with getting a first serious job and starting a family. The pot I smell on the street from a passing car or the neighbor’s apartment has a very different smell. Skunky and bitter. If the intensity of the THC content matches the smell, then this ain’t your daddy’s marijuana.

    I sat in on a webinar last month for therapists and health care professionals and the news from that presentation matches the information from the Woodhouse article. Much of today’s high THC content recreational pot has a strong capacity for inducing psychosis, and that the common availability of it will do damage to the brains of adolescents and young adults many years before they would naturally come to full maturity. The ugly danger of all of this is we have already seen the length Big Pharma and Big Tobacco has done to make products far more addictive and dangerous in a mainstream marketplace. The reported presence of fentanyl in vape pens is an example of how caution, common sense and ethics can get thrown under the bus if profit margins are involved.

    If recreational marijuana develops a legal market in South Dakota, I hope people will learn about the THC content of what they purchase and avoid ingesting frequent and dangerous amounts. I think it’s less dangerous than frequent and large amounts of alcohol, but folks need to realize making a habit of it is really not a necessary option.

    My hopes for retirement someday is to grow it with my tomatoes, cut the soles off my shoes and learn to play the flute.

  7. larry kurtz 2022-09-13 16:13

    I have so much bud trim this year I’ll be able to make hash for the first time! Grease Monkey is my fave from the dispensary at 30% THC.

    If the Neanderthal South Dakota Legislature had any integrity or ethics (they don’t) they would empower the tribal nations trapped in South Dakota to be the sole cannabis industry producers in the state (they won’t).

  8. grudznick 2022-09-13 16:50

    Be careful, Lar, eating your demon weed with breakfast potatoes will make you go insaner than most. Did you not read Mr. H’s blogging about that? One out of every 20 daily users can expect to develop schizophrenia if they don’t quit. If it’s not already too late for you, I urge you to pare back your massive intake.

  9. DaveFN 2022-09-13 16:52

    “… the strongest you were smoking was probably 20% THC. Today, teenagers are “dabbing” a product that’s three, four, or five times stronger,,,”

    Really? 60%, 80%, 100% stronger in THC? That’s hogwash.

    What isn’t hogwash is the lipid solubility of THC which is why it sequesters in fatty compartments (versus aqueous compartments) in the body, leading to very slow excretion and long detection times in urine, up to some 12 weeks.

    THC also crosses the placenta and women who expect to be pregnant should avoid marijuana use.

    THC (and nicotine) additionally have epigenetic effects on human sperm:

    Murphy, S. K. et al. Cannabinoid exposure and altered DNA methylation in rat and human sperm. Epigenetics 13, 1208–1221 (2018).

    “Cigarettes have been extensively studied and increase the risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, premature rupture of membranes, placental dysfunction, low birth rate, stillbirth, and infant mortality….several studies suggest an association between marijuana and fetal growth restriction, low birth weight, and neurodevelopmental differences in offspring.”

    Such caveats need be publicized more widely than they are as modifiable risk factors for prevention of birth defects.

  10. larry kurtz 2022-09-13 16:53

    All cannabis ingestion is medical.

  11. Richard Schriever 2022-09-13 18:30

    “Really? 60%, 80%, 100% stronger in THC? That’s hogwash.” Yep – an easily disproven lie. Reefer Madness v 2.2. If you have actual medical/biological evidence on your side, you don’t need to lie. Habitual lying (to and/or about oneself) can lead to – wait for it – psychosis.

  12. Arlo Blundt 2022-09-13 19:30

    My feelings are:
    A. For most people ingestion of cannabis products produces benign and pleasant outcomes.
    B. For some people, ingestion of cannabis and any other psychoactive substance, including alcohol, over the long term produces detrimental outcomes.
    C. Cannabis, even in in strongest forms, when smoked isn’t much of a pain reliever, but it pleasantly distracts the user from their pain
    D. Product produced from the plant, with very low THC content, seem to work well as an analgesic for back pain. When I tried it I was very surprised by its effectiveness on pain I’ve had for 30 years.
    E. Ingesting Marijuana won’t do anything to alleviate problems associated with a personality disorder but tend to exacerbate antisocial behaviors in these folks.
    F. I have known many highly productive people, who for years, have controlled the times and places to enjoy smoking marijuana, and who have suffered no consequences or bad outcomes. Like the saying “Don’t get drunk outside your house.” smoking marijuana seems to fit that prescription.
    G. The worst thing that can happen to most people who smoke marijuana is that other people come along and deprive them of their freedom and limit, at least for a period of time, their life choices.
    H. It does seem to me an appropriate choice for a drug to explore during one’s sunset years.

  13. P. Aitch 2022-09-13 20:13

    Just a question from liberal America where people respect other peoples right to make their own personal choices about their own personal lives. “What business is it of yours what others do in their own homes and why do you “NEED” to tell others what to do? Is it so boring up there that being a busy body is entertaining for you?”

  14. grudznick 2022-09-13 20:30

    Ms. PH, those fellows toke in the street, right outside the local bars, and they drive maniacally about the crowded one-way streets, with near mental derangement. The mind altering effect of the demon weed is a danger to all, and some of these fellows turn into criminals and steal. It was worse back before Ifrit’s closed down, but it’s still bad. It is very bad.

  15. P. Aitch 2022-09-13 21:13

    Grudznick. You’re crazy. Those things don’t happen. Your credibility for not exaggerating to the point of the ludicrous has long been gone. You sit in your nursing home and invent ridiculous drama within a brain stagnant from boredom. Enough of my attention, already. You call it getting goats which is just a cover up for a childlike habit of irritating people like you’re still in Catholic school acting out around the nuns.

  16. DaveFN 2022-09-13 21:14

    I retract my statement: “Hogwash” in reference to “Really? 60%, 80%, 100% stronger in THC? That’s hogwash.”

    Dabbing is extraction of THC from marijuana using liquified butane, which latter quickly evaporates and leave concentrated THC behind.

    “Research suggests that dabs or BHO can have a THC concentration of 80% in comparison to traditional cannabis, which has a concentration of about 10% to 15% THC.1

    In fact, at a minimum, dabs are as much as four times stronger than a joint. Plus, people who dab experience an intense high all at once rather than the high gradually building over time.

    Dabs are made by pouring butane over marijuana. This process extracts THC from the marijuana plant and dissolves it into the butane leaving a gummy, somewhat solid product that contains high amounts of THC.

  17. P. Aitch 2022-09-13 21:42

    @Dave FN – That’s fully accurate but doesn’t include that a gram of wax used for about thirty dabs costs less than ten dollars. Whiskey is eight times stronger than beer, isn’t it? There’s no one that holds you down and pours whiskey down your throat, is there?
    Last I checked everyone gets one vote. I say it’s up to the majority to decide.

  18. M 2022-09-14 08:08

    As the saying goes…some people drink their Buds and some smoke um.

  19. Clyde 2022-09-14 08:39

    The problem with the “majority vote” is that the majority shouldn’t be given the right to rule unless they are properly informed and educated. Something the ” majority” is having a hard time with now days.
    In college and the service I indulged and worked with others that did so regularly. If this country has any intention of being a productive society, it doesn’t need the weed! Alcohol gives you a bad hang over for a day. For me at least, the effects of weed last far longer.

  20. M 2022-09-14 10:20

    But Clyde, that’s your personal story. A person can develop chronic liver disease, alcoholism and so many mental illnesses along with just plain stupidness and meanness from imbibing. We know what alcohol can do and it’s still legal. Look at all the organizations etc that work to counter the side effects of alcohol. And I don’t ever remember hearing that Super Bowl Monday’s loss of work production is from too much pot during the game.

  21. P. Aitch 2022-09-14 14:01

    Clyde says … “The problem with the “majority vote” is that the majority shouldn’t be given the right to rule unless they are properly informed and educated.”
    No Clyde. “The problem is MAGA , toxic, anti-democracy, America’s Constitution neglecting people who think like you do.”
    What do you think about the FACT that white males will be a minority in USA within a few years? Hmmmmm ??

  22. DaveFN 2022-09-14 17:41

    P. Aitch

    My comments on percentages and known adverse effects have you wandering into projection. Paranoid much or is it merely hysteria?

    And your price quotation appears low:

    “Marijuana Concentrates. Medical marijuana comes in several different concentrated forms, such as oil, wax, hash, etc. These products contain significantly higher concentrations of THC and, thus, are typically more expensive. Most dispensaries will sell cannabis concentrates in quantities of half-grams, grams, or eighths. The going rate is usually $20-$60 per gram.”

    The Cost of Medical Marijuana: A State-By-State Breakdown
    Anthony Pellegrino
    August 25, 2022

  23. P. Aitch 2022-09-14 18:26

    No, Dave. My prices are current as of a week ago in Colorado. As usual your state and your information is about ten years behind the times. What’s below is more important than debating a product that’s been on the legal market for over fifteen years and none of the things stated above have become a serious situation and won’t.
    BUT, what’s pertinent in SD is this. Any laws that stop Naloxone from being sold over the counter need to be overridden by a statewide proclamation by the Health Department. (Naloxone is a medicine that can treat a fentanyl overdose when given right away.) This isn’t a jaw jacking exercise about a drug (cannabis concentrates) that doesn’t kill versus the most deadly drug there is. Fentanyl death is rampant in USA cities and will be so in SD within a few years.
    Doing nothing to mitigate a ban on Naloxone sales over the counter before the crisis just to spite the junkies is a very bad sin that a Christian claiming state should feel guilty about forever.

  24. Arlo Blundt 2022-09-14 18:51 are correct about Naloxone….have known wonderful young people who got involved with Oxycodone and died of fentanyl. Christian conservatives seem to like the fact that drug experimenters can die for their curiosity. See it as Eternal retribution.

  25. P. Aitch 2022-09-14 19:15

    @Arlo ~ 👍🏻✔️

  26. John Dale 2022-09-16 12:41

    I hear these claims a lot, but I never see evidence.

    “produce higher and higher concentrations of THC”

    “<2% THC"

    "cannabis use drove him to psychosis"

    What tests were used?

    Were they accurate?

    Were the tests repeated in legitimate peer reviewed studies?

    Often times, people who are "driven to psychosis" are done so by meth, which leaves the system in 2-3 days, while cannabis metabolites are left in the system and incorrectly blamed.

    There is also no credible evidence that I've reviewed suggesting that cannabis is addictive; no psychical withdrawal.

    Anything can be habit forming.

    We'd do more good banning FaceBook and mobile devices for kids.

    Judging from who is lining-up against it, this strikes me as the SD medical establishment protecting its monopoly, with plans to use invasive 5G to police even the smallest amount of unsanctioned herb.

  27. John Dale 2022-09-16 12:44

    “Is it a miracle drug? No. There is no such thing as a miracle drug.”

    It’s a miracle plant.

    Is there another plant that gives us medicine, textiles, and recreation without a hangover or addiction?

    Good for you, Larry.

    Shame on the FUD’sters

  28. John Dale 2022-09-16 12:45

    Want to solve your “marijuana addiction”?

    Get some white shoe polish and stop doing meth and coke.

    *mic drop*

  29. larry kurtz 2022-09-16 12:49

    Mr. Dale makes a stopped clock look all wound up.

  30. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-09-16 13:59

    Clyde’s concern with the majority lacking the information/education to deserve the opportunity to vote indicts all elections—if we’re too dumb to vote on a single policy, aren’t we too dumb to pick the people who would make all the policies? What’s the solution there, Clyde—monarchy? (The inbred, cloistered royals don’t strike me as uniquely well-informed, either.)

    Clyde’s complaint does not uniquely indict direct democracy. It indicts the Legislative process as well. I’ve seen our legislators. I’ve listened to their speeches. I know they consist of at least the same proportion of dim bulbs as the voters they represent. And have you listened to the Governor try to explain things?

    We can’t identify any uniquely enlightened, virtuous individuals or class of individuals who have a greater claim to legitimacy than anyone else. Absent obvious philosopher kings, we must default to moral legitimacy. Everyone has equal claim to dignity and autonomy. Thus, the only legitimate government is the government that gives every citizen equal say over their common fate, and that’s democracy, conducted by majority rule, with reasonable protections for minority rights. I don’t know what minority right Clyde can invoke in discussing whether we should allow the majority to decide marijuana policy, so absent that, a majority vote on this policy is legitimate and should be respected by the Legislature and the courts.

    But for Pete’s sake, don’t go smoking pot just because the majority says the state won’t arrest you for smoking pot. Adultery isn’t illegal, either, but it’s a really bad idea.

  31. John Dale 2022-09-16 15:49

    “obvious philosopher kings” — nice reference

    Smoking anything is not a good idea.

    The safest method, which is precluded by our draconian, barbaric laws, is herbal vaporization of organically grown greenhouse herb.

    Democracy is good in principle, but it has a bug. It tends to attack and marginalize its philosopher kinds even more than the corporate fascist oligopolies we have in place now.

    Regional democratic representation with the dilution effect that comes with grouped electoral systems holds some promise. It would mean replacing elected politicians with computer systems that help sum the votes and tendencies, but each issue wouldn’t be a pure democracy, and would rely on gerrymandering type behavior to bootstrap its fairness.

  32. John Dale 2022-09-16 15:51

    larry kurz’s insults make as much sense as constipation as a Christmas gift.

  33. larry kurtz 2022-09-16 16:13

    There are thirteen Pueblos and three reservations in New Mexico.

    Democratic then-Representative from New Mexico’s First District, now-Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham worked with Republican-now-Libertarian former Gov. Gary Johnson to legalize cannabis for some patients but Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, signed it into law in 2007. The Cannabis Regulation Act was signed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and became effective June 29, 2021.

    The Picuris and the Pojoaque Pueblos have entered agreements with State of New Mexico to market cannabis product outside tribal borders. The Tewa words wõ poví translate to “medicine flower” and so far half of Pojoaque’s clients are from Texas and other red states.

  34. larry kurtz 2022-09-16 16:23

    Like the Nationalist People’s Republic of Brookings Sturgis owns the liquor store so it only follows that they would want to control the cannabis industry, too.

  35. larry kurtz 2022-09-16 16:30

    19 Pueblos and 3 reservations. Smoke another bowl, kurtz.

  36. larry kurtz 2022-09-17 17:41

    Several tribal nations want cannabis programs so the demonic South Dakota Legislature should legalize simple possession then get the hell out of the way.

  37. P. Aitch 2022-09-17 19:07

    Why don’t your SD’ers make it legal so things can settle in? The tension up there is palpable.

  38. larry kurtz 2022-09-22 07:11

    The Sturgis City Council unanimously approved a medical marijuana manufacturing license at its meeting Monday. The council had approved a medical cannabis cultivation license for The Crop Shop in May. The city is waiting on required improvements and inspection to the location before issuing the cultivation license, said Dave Smith, the city’s director of planning and permitting. Sturgis has a limit of two on the number of cannabis dispensary licenses it will issue, but for all other cannabis establishment licenses, the number of licenses is unlimited, Smith said.

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