Press "Enter" to skip to content

IM 27 Campaigner: Biden Pardons May Swing Some Older Democrats to Vote for Marijuana Decriminalization

Initiated Measure 27 would free South Dakotans (and our visitors!) of the threat of arrest and conviction in state court for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana or three marijuana plants. IM 27 campaign leader Matthew Schweich says President Biden’s pardon of folks convicted federally for possessing pot may give the pot-decriminalization campaign a small boost:

Matt Schwiech, who is running South Dakota’s ballot initiative campaign to legalize recreational marijuana possession for adults, said the president’s pardons may hand the campaign a boost with older Democrats. It also underscores the campaign’s message that convictions for pot possession hurt people on job or rental applications, as well as that enforcing pot possession laws are a waste of time and resources for law enforcement, he said [Andrew DeMillo, “Biden’s Pot Pardons Could Boost States’ Legalization Drive,” AP, 2022.10.15].

Schweich is surely not implying that older Democrats are the only doobie brothers and sisters in South Dakota. He is more likely analyzing the political landscape:

  • The youngsters doing pot are all voting Yes on IM 27, regardless of party and Presidential action.
  • Republicans are already strong Nos on IM 27. The right-wingers who oppose the demon weed may happily point to Biden’s pardon as evidence that marijuana is part of the liberal plot to corrupt the youth. Associating marijuana with President Biden may pull some of the 8% undecided Republicans to No and flip a handful of the non-smokers among the 24% of Republicans who would otherwise vote Yes.
  • 71% of Democrats are already on board with IM 27. The 20% who are voting No may be predominantly older, more conservative Democrats. Seeing how their fellow senior citizen Joe Biden has evolved in his thinking about marijuana may inspire older South Dakota Democrats to change with the times as well.


  1. larry kurtz 2022-10-15 09:13

    We don’t “do pot;” we enjoy cannabis.

  2. Nix 2022-10-15 09:42

    That’s right Larry.
    Pot Head
    A derogatory term used by biased people
    to make them feel better while they
    look the other way when our youth puke
    on their shoes.
    And those are the ones that lived.
    Any bets that Fred Deutsch and Jim Kinyon
    drink alcohol?
    Those 2 Catholics can lie with the best of them so they probably wouldn’t tell you.
    Maybe attending one of Kristi’s prayer
    breakfasts would help them.
    The PSDK ad on TV is full of non verifiable B. S.

  3. Donald Pay 2022-10-15 10:46

    For the first time in years of voting against pot legalization, I voted for it this year. We had an advisory referendum on our ballot this general election. It is just a countywide effort to gauge how county citizens feel about the issue. Since we don’t have the initiative in Wisconsin, the strategy of many grassroots political efforts is to cajole county or city governments to put various issues on the ballot. I don’t know how many county pot legalization advisory referendums are on the ballot this year, but I know it was on my ballot, which I mailed in last week.

    Through prosecutors’ discretion and local government policy, we have decriminalized the use and small possession of pot in Dane County. The question now is do we go all the way to legalization. Although the intent is to put pressure on the Legislature here, Ii won’t happen in Wisconsin. The Republicans have gerrymandered their dominance of the Legislature. Republicans here used to be more libertarian, but now they are dominated by the Christian nationalists, whose drug of choice is the opium of the people, as Marx put it.

    I guess I can be accused of being a chameleon on this issue, because I changed my opinion. Not really. I still am against pot. I particularly don’t like the “sin industry” aspect to it. If it was just a bunch of stoners passing along joints they made from their home-grown plants, I say, “roll another one, but don’t pass it to me.” When I lobbied in Pierre, the people I couldn’t stand were the booze industry (though I did imbibe in their free booze at their lobbyist function) and the gambling industry. Making money off of people’s weakness, and bribing the state with tax money so they can do it is the worst kind of government enterprise. But I’m also adult enough to know you can’t prevent people from engaging in their sin of choice. They have to make that decision on their own.

  4. Nix 2022-10-15 10:57

    Thank -you Donald.
    Ron Johnson needs a bong.

  5. P. Aitch 2022-10-15 12:26

    71% of Democrats are already on board with IM 27.
    Republicans are already strong Nos on IM 27.
    The right side of history …

  6. Jake 2022-10-15 14:23

    During Prohibition and before, people were dying from”bad” alcohol, as it was made from whatever took the maker’s fancy. It took legalizing alcohol to bring in the regulations needed for the manufacture of the intoxicant for sale. (Oh, could that be ANOTHER reason why “Pubs’ cry about ‘regulation’?) Alcohol today is sold everywhere and there is damn little illegal activity involved in its making; unlike during Prohibition when the “Black Market” prevailed.
    I’ve never partook of cannabis, only finding recently the use of ‘gummies’ and carried petitions for its legalization here in SD 2 or more times, voting for it to be legalized. After reading of how some pharmacy companys have so developed much higher THC content in plants I swung against the legalization, then upon discussing it with people who had partaken most of their life of cannabis’ benefits, I realized that only way to keep such potent stuff out of the hands of the “Black Market” (who could care less for your health/well-being-only $$$) I voted recently for its legality.
    THEN, and ONLY then, will it be scrutinized and regulated to be useful by ‘of-age’ people. Yes, youth will obtain it, like they can and do alcohol today, but the substance will be safe-not whatever the Joe Blow wants to make money off of as it is at present.

  7. Eve Fisher 2022-10-15 15:03

    The anti-IM 27 campaign is trying to scare everyone about “demon weed” while, all across South Dakota, parents turn a blind eye to “farm parties” where the kids gather & get absolutely drunk, and often buy the alcohol for them. And, of course, alcohol is available in every grocery store, drug store, convenience store, etc. because alcohol is so harmless…
    Meanwhile, I, like most aging grannies with arthritis, don’t want to sit around getting stoned, I just want THC gummies before bedtime.

  8. bearcreekbat 2022-10-15 17:41

    Back in the day I knew a fellow that bragged about spraying Black Flag insect repellant on ditchweed in Minnesota, likely hemp, and selling it to unsuspecting buyers as a special blend of Marijuana. Legalization will help make pot safe and put that kind of idiot out of business

  9. P. Aitch 2022-10-15 17:58

    If your kid doesn’t make good decisions, you failed, MAGA males.

  10. larry kurtz 2022-10-15 18:02

    According to the Lakota Times Oglala Lakota College has the equipment to test cannabis but so far the cost of constructing a lab in Pine Ridge has proved to be prohibitive.

    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.

  11. P. Aitch 2022-10-15 19:54

    The beer and wine consumed in SD aren’t necessarily created in SD. No reason, at this new beginning, not to allow imports from states that have a proven purity and cannabinoid testing process.
    We all know cannabis is soon to be legal nationwide. Set up your system with forward thinking, for once.

  12. grudznick 2022-10-15 20:06

    Marijuana use directly affects brain function specifically the parts responsible for memory, learning attention, decision making, coordination, reaction time, and emotion. It is associated with depression and anxiety and can distort perception.

  13. larry kurtz 2022-10-15 20:19

    Mr. Newland has made it clear that any forum that allows trolling by pseudonymous partisans is no forum at all but is a gutter instead where poisoned water ultimately contaminates the well.

  14. ABC 2022-10-16 12:17

    Video lottery is the ultimate pornography. Family values gambling. Money porn. Paycheck disappearing into the machine port. Gov. No is Queen of Porn. Oh she sighs at least we have this blessed pile of $125 million to use. Shame on any Governor who does not seek to limit or abolish this video lottery porn. Use the $125 million a year for gambling addiction treatment, if the voters are stupid and vote for this again.

  15. ABC 2022-10-16 12:21

    Actually when Gov Jamie Smith takes office and signs legislation limiting the video lottery hours and putting all the 125 million for gambling treatment, then Guaranteed , he will lose 30 pounds and get re elected in 2028!

Comments are closed.