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Allender: Colorado Traffic Deaths and Pot Hospitalizations Show Need to Vote No on IM 27

Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender is voting Yes on Amendment D to expand Medicaid, since it will make South Dakotans and South Dakota’s economy healthier. But former RC police chief Allender is voting No on Initiated Measure 27, the legalization of recreational marijuana, because he says it will make South Dakotan less healthy, if not dead. Allender ticks off facts he ascribes to marijuana-happy Colorado (and demonstrated that the South Dakota Municipal League needs to have someone proofread its newsletter):

Traffic deaths in which drivers tested positive for marijuana increased 109% while all traffic deaths increase [sic] 31%.

Traffic deaths involving drivers who tested positive for marijuana more than doubled from 55 in 2013 to 115 people in in [sic] 2018.

The percentage of all Colorado traffic deaths that were marijuana related increased from 15% in 2013 to 23% in 2018.

…The yearly number of emergency department visits related to marijuana increased 54% after the legalization of recreational marijuana.

The yearly number of marijuana related hospitalizations increased 101% after the legalization of recreational marijuana.

…After a few years of experience with medical and recreational marijuana, 64% of local jurisdictions in Colorado have band [sic] medical and recreational marijuana businesses [Steve Allender, “President’s Report,” South Dakota Municipalities, October 2022, p. 5].

Election Day is November 8; any eligible South Dakotan who wishes to vote on Initiated Measure 27 and all the other fun and exciting choices on the ballot may go to the courthouse today and every business day until Election Day to cast an early ballot.


  1. larry kurtz 2022-10-05 11:56

    Today’s oxymoron: Republican leadership.

    South Dakota, there are 23 sobriety checkpoints in 16 counties scheduled during October. According to the South Dakota Department of Public Safety, October checkpoints are scheduled for Beadle, Brookings, Brown, Brule, Day, Charles Mix, Clay, Codington, Fall River, Jones, Lincoln, Meade, Minnehaha, Pennington, Spink, and Stanley counties.

  2. All Mammal 2022-10-05 12:32

    Without adjusting for population differences, I am sure SD experiences more vehicle deaths than CO. No doubt in my mind. I am including ATV deaths. Our driving related fatalities are dismally morbid. I believe there is a lack of research done when engineers are building our roads. They are not safe in Rapid City. There is this new style that dismisses traditional safety first and instead opts for control. There is less freedom of movement. Ie: more bottlenecks, more unmarked medians, lack of signage, crosswalks, and lighting, etc. Our roads feel more and more like traps. It is crazy and unsafe. It works out best for cops, not citizens or snow ploughs. What are the engineers smoking?

  3. Prairie Jane 2022-10-05 12:49

    I have noted, with interest, that the state GOP has been conspicuously quiet on the ballot measures this election. Gone are the days of the VOTE NO ON EVERYTHING messaging. Is this because they have been getting trounced at the polls on these voter initiated measures and want to stop pointing out how out of touch they are before people notice? Or is it because these 2 issues in particular are known losers for them based on internal polls? Maybe Noem’s perceived struggles are causing a more middle of the road approach from the statewide organization?

    Just something to ponder.

  4. Donald Pay 2022-10-05 13:26

    Some of those statistics might need to be put into some context. In particular, these two have me asking some questions:

    “…The yearly number of emergency department visits related to marijuana increased 54% after the legalization of recreational marijuana.

    The yearly number of marijuana related hospitalizations increased 101% after the legalization of recreational marijuana.”

    If the yearly number at t1 was 1 and at t1+n was 2, that’s a 100% increase, but it’s still just one more visit to the emergency room or hospitalization.

    At any rate, Colorado started out with the Wild West attitude on legalization. It was new and it drew potheads from all over the country. Probably this skews the statistics. What are the statistics since 2018? Did drunk driving go down?

    Still, it’s something to consider.

  5. mark kuegle 2022-10-05 15:27


    In 2018, 13.5 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes tested positive for cannabis.

    According to data collected by the Colorado Department of Transportation, 49 people died in Colorado car crashes that were caused by impaired driving from marijuana.

    Even with those 49 fatal crashes, it doesn’t come close to the number caused by alcohol. Fatal alcohol crashes make up a third of fatal crashes in the state.

    I have to wonder if Mr. Allender will be starting a campaign to have alcohol DE-LEGALIZED since it “…will make South Dakotan less healthy, if not dead.”

  6. P. Aitch 2022-10-05 15:34

    Those are invalid comparisons easily attributed to a former cop. Cops lie more than Republicans and Republican cops are ulterior liars by definition.
    But, it’s up to the voters, isn’t it? The discussion these days is only from the opinions of those who fully expect to lose, again.
    I’ll reiterate ad nauseum. SD doesn’t need legal weed. Whoever wants it knows where to get it and giving corrupt Republicans another opportunity to steal is without value.

  7. jim 2022-10-05 15:49

    Alcohol, Marijuana, Motorcycle Helmets, ATVs, Smoking Cigarettes, Skydiving and on and on. Only one of these currently merits jail time or fines. But it is not the most deadly of those activities. I will be voting YES on 27.

    If we want to ban activities, start with the most dangerous. Until then… FREEDOM.

  8. grudznick 2022-10-05 16:01

    The Demon Weed targets the brain with rot. Willy Nelson forgets his own songs on the stage because the Demon Weed has destroyed half of his memory capacity, and this can happen in just two years! And for kids, don’t even get grudznick started about kids toking and snorting and eating browies…it makes kids mentally deficient, fills them with social anxiety and imbeds a deep psychosis into them. This is evident science, based on evidence, and documented #4Science.

  9. O 2022-10-05 16:03

    Not to jump the shark here, but all those arguments warrant making alcohol illegal. Yet this is not really about safety.

    I’m voting Yes on 27 to remove one avenue of institutional racism in our criminal justice system. CRT in action!

  10. Ryan 2022-10-05 16:10

    I’m voting yes on 27 because I would like to grow cannabis without risking prison time.

  11. larry kurtz 2022-10-05 16:22

    Congress is poised to remove cannabis from Schedule 1 and at least three tribal nations trapped in my home state are planning grow-ops so white people should quit whining and simply urge the insufferable South Dakota Legislature to legalize simple possession then get the hell out of their way.

  12. larry kurtz 2022-10-05 16:28

    Cannabis is a safe, effective palliative but black market cannabis not tested or subject to regulation makes America and South Dakota less safe. Legalization, state or tribal inspections and regulation of produce that so many people enjoy is reasonable public policy that aligns with prudent life safety goals.

    Contaminated dietary supplements, vapes, ointments and edibles are unacceptable in a country with a long history of snake oil salesmen. CBD products being sold in South Dakota and other states are little different from raw milk, preserves, pies or juices that are often tainted with hormones, pesticides and worse but sold at farmers markets anyway. Giving the products as gifts is one thing but selling untested product especially through interstate commerce is completely different.

  13. blueboy 2022-10-05 16:43

    Lies, damn lies, and statistics. As Donald Pay notes above, the numbers quoted are indicative of, at best, tiny changes. The kind of tiny that disappears altogether in cases of the smallest good-faith errors/biases in data reporting.

    The number for lives ruined by incarceration for marijuana is very evident, no need to squint at stats. Yes on 27.

  14. Carmen Cedarface 2022-10-05 17:38

    Just vote yes. It can’t be any worse than alcohol and Meth. Our legislators should be worried about the Meth epidemic. Seem’s like no one is trying to stop it.

  15. Arlo Blundt 2022-10-05 17:49

    Grudznick–yes, for God’s sake, don’t allow yourself to smoke marijuana. You are already far too demented to get any benefit, whatsoever, from this benign and mildly pleasurable natural substance. Your reality is already so badly twisted, so filled with ragged shards of broken glass, that any altering would lead to a total and complete, psychosis.

  16. M 2022-10-05 18:05

    There are too many variables to affect those statistics that are reported.

    Were these residents of Colorado or South Dakotans and other hick drivers from out of state? I know a lot more people now that go to Denver for concerts etc rather than Minneapolis. They may not be in the accident but driving 50 on a 10-lane highway whilst everyone else is going 80 sure may cause one.

    Because pot tests for drivers haven’t been used long, a base line number has to be established and comparisons are then made. I know they test for alcohol in traffic stops and accidents, but they don’t test for uppers, downers, and every prescription pill available plus all the other garbage people ingest.

    I do know one thing, if the dudes I see buying 12 and 20 packs of Bud on Sunday morning before all the football games start, smoke a doobie or two, it doubles the high of those beers, making them dangerous.

  17. V 2022-10-05 18:31

    There are some interesting comments. Vote yes on 7, I know far too many young people incarcerated for smoking reefer. Their futures in question with a felony to show for their being of color, living in poverty, or having priors. In a state with less than one million people, there sure is a high recidivism rate for drug convictions. Too many lives have been ruined because they smoked a natural plant and did no harm to anyone or weren’t involved in a criminal activity. Vote yes!!!!

    Arlo, I think Grudz should try one hit and wait a half hour if he can. He’ll be so hungry, but I bet he’ll stay on task and use his time wisely when at the buffet bar.

  18. John 2022-10-05 19:52

    Malarkey!! Portugal, and other nations that decriminilized possession and use of small amounts of drugs saw drops in crime, drug crime, over doses, and drug-related deaths. Portugal decriminalized it over 20 years ago.

    Legalize it. Tax it. Treat it.

  19. grudznick 2022-10-05 19:59

    Doobies double the effect of beers? That’s scary dangerous and I’m surprised the hard-hitting beer lobbists aren’t all on board on smiting this measure, initiated as number 27, down hard. It will cut their beer sales in half. Some phone calls need to be made to some hard-hitting lobbists.

  20. larry kurtz 2022-10-05 20:28

    grud blames his brother’s demise on cannabis so hard nose the highway at the family’s peril, right?

  21. Arlo Blundt 2022-10-05 23:08

    I am in sympathy with the Grudz on losing a brother to addictive disease. It is a tragedy. Treatment works…period. If the first time doesn’t work for a person, the second, third, or fifteenth will. We need to invest more tax dollars in treatment…period.

  22. WillyNilly 2022-10-06 05:42

    I still haven’t made up my mind. While I think usage is ok in the home where people should stay while under the influence, I have bad memories of users at work putting others at risk. It’s very frightening to see someone using heavy dangerous equipment while they are glassy eyed and uncoordinated. And no one had the courage to tell them to leave because ‘it’s just grass’.

  23. Richard Schriever 2022-10-06 08:30

    Ok – let’s apply actual SCIENCE then to these “numbers”. Basic rule – CORRELATION – which is what these numbers sort of but don’t really represent, they’re in reality simple unanalyzed data points – but CORRELATION – does NOT = causation.

  24. Richard Schriever 2022-10-06 08:32

    So Willy – should those folks then be put in prison for 2-3 years by the state – or should they simply be FIRED by their employer? That’s the choice on the ballot.

  25. cibvet 2022-10-06 09:34

    Richard is right. Most places would fire a person for drinking on the job and so the same rules should apply for using marijuana. Police like the illegality of mj in the drug war for the mere purpose of making their statistics look good on paper and keeping the Springfield prison at capacity for cheap labor. Vote yes.

  26. larry kurtz 2022-10-06 14:46

    “First: I’m pardoning all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession. There are thousands of people who were previously convicted of simple possession who may be denied employment, housing, or educational opportunities as a result. My pardon will remove this burden.

    Second: I’m calling on governors to pardon simple state marijuana possession offenses. Just as no one should be in a federal prison solely for possessing marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either.

    Third: We classify marijuana at the same level as heroin – and more serious than fentanyl. It makes no sense. I’m asking @SecBecerra and the Attorney General to initiate the process of reviewing how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.”

    -President Joe Biden

  27. larry kurtz 2022-10-06 14:50

    President Biden: “Sending people to jail for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives – for conduct that is legal in many states. That’s before you address the clear racial disparities around prosecution and conviction. Today, we begin to right these wrongs.”

  28. V 2022-10-06 18:09

    Wow this is such perfect timing!!!! Thanks Uncle Joe.

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