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SDSU Poll: Voters Ready to Expand Medicaid, Still Not as Eager for Legal Marijuana

The SDSU Poll brings clear good news for supporters of Medicaid expansion and uncertain tidings for supporters of marijuana legalization.

According to the responses of 565 registered South Dakota voters submitted between September 28 and October 10, 53% of South Dakota voters support finally joining 38 other states in expanding Medicaid, which they have the opportunity to do by voting Yes on Amendment D:

David Wiltse, "Voters Are Supportive of Medicaid Expansion and Evenly Split on Recreational Marijuana," SDSU Poll, 2022.10.13.
David Wiltse, “Voters Are Supportive of Medicaid Expansion and Evenly Split on Recreational Marijuana,” SDSU Poll, 2022.10.13.

Only 1 in 5 voters is a sure No; even if all of the “Not Sure” voters (Not Sure? really? The Affordable Care Act offered states expanded Medicaid a decade ago; Dennis Daugaard said we should do it back in 2015; 38 states have done it and none have backed out; and you’re still Not Sure?! Maybe just stay home and let the people paying attention cast their votes.) broke negative, Amendment D would still pass. Get the advertising wizards at the big hospitals to pour on some warm fuzzy ads, and they can easily win half of those unsures and push the Yes vote to two thirds.

Here the SDSU Poll aligns with every previous poll on Medicaid expansion in South Dakota. Every time they are asked, South Dakotans say, expand Medicaid!

Pot posts less pretty prospects. The SDSU Poll finds legal recreational marijuana (which is in the ballot in the form of Initiated Measure 27, although the SDSU Poll does not make clear whether it asked voters about this specific legal language or about the idea of legal recreational marijuana in general) draws only 45% support versus 47% opposition:

Wiltse, 2022.10.13.
Wiltse, 2022.10.13.

Wiltse says this result “largely comports” with the July 2022 poll results from Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy for SD News Watch and the Chiesman Center. I would suggest SDSU’s fall results differ notably from Mason-Dixon’s, which found No with a majority more than ten points larger than Yes. If we accept both polls at face value, the No on IM 27 vote has slipped from 54.4% to 47% while the Yes on IM 27 vote has risen from 43.8% to 45%. In July, IM 27 was headed for defeat; over the last three months, whatever work IM 27 backers have been doing has brought their race back to a statistical dead heat that a good Get Out The Vote effort could turn into a narrow victory.

But the SDSU Poll and Mason-Dixon’s July poll do comport in showing marijuana is missing some of the mojo is mustered in 2020, when South Dakota voters legalized medical marijuana on a 70%–30% vote and assented to legal recreational marijuana with the ill-fated Amendment A on a 54%–46% vote. Conventional wisdom says that if 54% of voters were willing to write leafy liberty into the state constitution, a mere initiated law on the same subject should draw 59% support or more. IM 27 should also be seeing increased support from folks who perhaps aren’t deeply invested in marijuana but are mad that politicians have once again thwarted the expressed will of the people by throwing out a voter initiative. Recall that in 2014, voters approved raising the minimum wage through Initiated Measure 18 55% to 45%, but two years later, the voters rejected legislators’ attempt to roll back that increase for young workers via Referred Law 20 by a vote of 71% to 29%.

But none of those factors appears to be boosting IM 27, as no poll has shown IM 27 enjoying the same strength as Amendment A.

The SDSU Poll thus contributes to a consistent picture painted by other polls of the prospects of this year’s ballot measures: Amendment D is likely to pass, while Initiated Measure 27 is struggling to replicate the unique success marijuana measures enjoyed on South Dakota’s 2020 ballot.


  1. Richard Schriever 2022-10-16 10:03

    On the one hand, voters recognize the need to bring more of their own tax dollars back into the state, while on the other, they seem to be determined to drive those tax dollars to other states.

  2. larry kurtz 2022-10-16 10:30

    Is a human trophic level just the larder for a pack of predatory oligarchs who feed on miserable and quarrelsome superconsumers?


    Sifting through the scat left by Amerikkkans for Posterity (AFP) readers learn their concern that added social safety nets will cause wage slaves to abandon the workforce completely forcing the corporate overlords to raise wages and cut profits while cannabis legalization fosters a care less attitude.

  3. grudznick 2022-10-16 11:05

    Wait until the hard hitting commercials showing children whose brains have been rotted by the Demon Weed start hitting the air waives.

    Irony here will be an old friend of this blog place, and my good friend, Bill’s colorful ad agency is producing them for the Health Departments.

  4. John 2022-10-16 11:08

    Proponents of democracy, referendums, and initiated measures should vote to NOT RETAIN Justices Devaney and Salter for they voted against the public’s adoption of recreational cannabis use in Amendment A.

  5. Ron Jon 2022-10-16 11:52

    I believe the difference between 2020 and now speaks to the wisdom of the single subject requirement for constitutional amendments. It passed in 2020 because medical marijuana was in the amendment. The Supreme Court made the right decision to find that amendment unconstitutional. Hopefully, when recreational use of marijuana has to stand on its own merits, it fails. Just because there are other ills in society doesn’t make adding another one a good idea.

  6. larry kurtz 2022-10-16 12:09

    Again. The revelation that white people in South Dakota are too stupid to regulate a cannabis industry is lost on no one so giving tribal communities such a huge head start on a vital economic development initiative might be Mrs. Noem’s greatest achievement.

    Cannabis is legal in Montana for adults over 21 and despite objections from prohibitionists voters in Yellowstone County just moved the state’s largest county from red to green.

    Purchased flower of no more than 35% THC plus edibles, tinctures, vaporizer cartridges, concentrates and topicals produced only in Montana are placed in reusable “exit bags” to prevent children and potentially triggered Republicans from seeing what’s inside. Patients in the state’s therapeutic cannabis program are exempt from the 100mg of THC cap in edibles. All product is tested in Montana-based labs for bacteria, mold, heavy metals, potency and other foreign compounds.

    Rigs and CBD products purchased at dispensaries can be manufactured outside of Montana and expungement of past cannabis offenses is being implemented slowly. Adults may grow two mature and two seedlings at home as long as they’re where Republicans can’t see or smell them. Green counties tend to be in Democratic western Montana while red counties where sales are forbidden tend to be in the Republican east.

    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.

    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.

  7. grudznick 2022-10-16 14:42

    Mr. Ron Jon is righter than right. The voters were befuddled and hoodwinked by the medical Weed bills and dumbfounded, as the out-of-state dark-money intended.

    Ban out-of-state money on measures initiated.

  8. bearcreekbat 2022-10-16 14:45

    I don’t agree with Ron Jon about the SD Supreme decision on Amendment A. In my view that decision was flat out contrary to existing precedent which I understand to require upholding a citizen initiated constituional amendment if there is any rational argument to support upholding it. For Amendment A there seemed to be more than one rational argument that the Amendemt did not violate the single subject rule. For example, it is rational to argue that hemp is simply a sub-category of marijuana and that the subject “marijuana” was a single subject that included all sub-categories of marijuana.

    Obviously, my opinion and analysis was not shared by the Supreme Court Justices, including Justices Devaney and Salter, but such a disagreement about the law and precedent among independent thinking lawyers and judges is not at all unusual. I have no rational reason to suspect, let alone believe, that either Justice formed their personal opinion based on which way they thought the political winds were blowing. Rather, absent some actual compelling evidence to the contrary, I would presume that each of these Justices came to a good faith decision about their interpretation of the law. I could be wrong of course, but I presume that the fact Noem was on one side of the issue was probably of literally either no importance whatsoever, or at worst the least important consideration, in deciding the case.

    Thus, contrary to John’s suggestion, for me a decision to vote to not retain Justices Devaney and Salter would have to be supported by some other reason than the fact that “they voted against the public’s adoption of recreational cannabis use in Amendment A.” Since I have seen no reasonable evidence that two Justices are political syncophants that decide cases based on what they thought might please a governor or a party, I would be a bit worried that if Noem is re-elected, which unfortunately the polls suggest to be likely, she would appoint any replacement Justice. And given Noem’s adoption of a Trumpist philosophy I would worry that such an appointment would be much more likely to be a political animal that would decide cases as a Noem syncophant Justice, (similar to the apparent actions of Trump’s recent SCOTUS appointees) rather than an independent thinking jurist such as Devaney and Salter seem to be.

  9. larry kurtz 2022-10-16 15:04

    Entheogen is a term derived from two words from Ancient Greek that effectively translates to English as “the god within.” Next month Colorado voters will likely pass Initiative 58 that will legalize the use of entheogens like psilocybin. The New Mexico Legislature will take up the issue next session as drafts for a similar statute have already been written.

  10. larry kurtz 2022-10-16 16:50

    South Dakota should change its state motto to, “freedom for me but not for thee.”

  11. mike from iowa 2022-10-16 17:30

    South Duhkota’s motto should be “We put the dumb in freedumb!” Dumb, they’re on it.

  12. Arlo Blundt 2022-10-16 18:34

    In this election it is very important that Independent and non traditional voters are identified, mobilized, and assisted, if necessary, to the polls. It is going to be all about turn out.Our ally is Republican complacency.

  13. All Mammal 2022-10-16 18:56

    SD fact: What the people want-doesn’t matter
    SD PSA: Meth. We’re on it. But only because its cheaper than food.
    SD motto: Under red, the world burns.
    SD mascot: dead pheasant with limp neck and floppy head
    SD experiences: slaughter house stench and contaminated water
    Out of staters say: lets turn this place into a parking lot.
    We must: Work together for it. Its worth it.
    Disclaimer: not responsible for the governor….oh, wait. Our bad.

  14. grudznick 2022-10-16 21:14

    Lar, are entheogens what those mushroom things you sent me to grow for you are?

  15. DaveFN 2022-10-16 21:15

    larry kurtz

    David E. Nichols wrote the following regarding entheogens:

    “Many different names have been proposed over the years for this drug class. The famous German toxicologist Louis Lewin used the name phantastica earlier in this century, and as we shall see later, such a descriptor is not so farfetched. The most popular names—hallucinogen, psychotomimetic, and psychedelic (“mind manifesting”)—have often been used interchangeably. Hallucinogen is now, however, the most common designation in the scientific literature, although it is an inaccurate descriptor of the actual effects of these drugs. In the lay press, the term psychedelic is still the most popular and has held sway for nearly four decades. Most recently, there has been a movement in nonscientific circles to recognize the ability of these substances to provoke mystical experiences and evoke feelings of spiritual significance. Thus, the term entheogen, derived from the Greek word entheos, which means “god within”, was introduced by Ruck et al. and has seen increasing use. This term suggests that these substances reveal or allow a connection to the “divine within”. Although it seems unlikely that this name will ever be accepted in formal scientific circles, its use has dramatically increased in the popular media and on internet sites. Indeed, in much of the counterculture that uses these substances, entheogen has replaced psychedelic as the name of choice and we may expect to see this trend continue.”

    Nichols DE (February 2004). “Hallucinogens”. Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 200d, 101 (2): 131–181.

    Nichols was my research professor and director of my PhD dissertation at Purdue University.

    As far as “god within,” a mind addled on drugs is likely to believe anything.

  16. All Mammal 2022-10-16 21:50

    I prefer berserker.

  17. Arlo Blundt 2022-10-16 22:58

    Well, if yoiu sent some to Grudznick, maybe he’ll eat a couple and get in touch with his cereal.

  18. Arlo Blundt 2022-10-16 22:58

    Well, if you sent some to Grudznick, maybe he’ll eat a couple and get in touch with his cereal.

  19. DaveFN 2022-10-17 01:02

    larry kurtz

    The counterpart of “god within” is “the devil without,” the latter a projection onto the external world–society or civilization in general—as being demonic and threatening. This is commonly seen in cannabis-induced paranoia.

    Such externalization of evil has nothing to do with imposition of laws intent to suppress cannabis use taken as a threat to the cannabis-user, but is rather a matter of the addling of mind in which cannabis suppresses higher order, critical thinking of its users, which in turn results in internal naval-staring, with the resultant effect that anything revealed by such naval-staring is taken as a certain and absolute truth (a “truth” unchecked and unable to be checked by reason which would reveal it to be otherwise than it appears to be), by definition a truth unable to be otherwise disbelieved. Such a perception mistaken as an absolute truth goes hand-in-hand with the suspicion of civilization that we see with who? Could it be larry kurtz in his incessant and obsessive castigations and ruminations of the ways things are in the world?

  20. larry kurtz 2022-10-17 07:02

    Good morning, Dave. In July of 1997, two and a half years after my younger sister was killed in a car/bicycle accident (she was on the bike), I was drowning my sorrows at Orman Dam. The full moon nuzzled Bear Butte as a thunderstorm erupting on the western horizon directed the remnants of sunset at the Hills; slashes of fire, then blood splashed the mirror in the south. My sister, out there dancing with Terry Peak in that crescendo of existence-or-not-epiphania said to me, “I am Living Rock, I am Water. All Life begins here.”

  21. All Mammal 2022-10-17 11:24

    Getting a little sideways, especially taking boomers, as well as using ganja, promote the ability to see and judge one’s own self. And allows the person to laugh at ones own reflection.
    Sometimes, what we see isn’t what we always told ourselves. It only takes one or two times to erase the false image.

    Taking stock of one’s self is too difficult for many squares. They prefer to judge others because seeing one’s self is too scary and they consider knowledge of self evil. Fraidy cats don’t want others to see who they are and especially do not want to know who they themselves are. Lighten up. Its ok. Accept yourself, for starters. Makes it much easier to accept others. Without that pineal gland that keeps us spiritual, people have no ability to dream in color. I suggest people lay off the fluoride in their water so their pineal gland can decalcify.

    I know many people who are drug free and make it a point to reflect within. They are badass and we love each other. Not feeling judged by them is appreciated. I have been told they are grateful I accept them for being straight-arrows as well.

    Mr. Kurtz- I kid you not, I saw her playing/dancing, tipping the hills like they were falling dominos. Just pink clouds being free. Made me feel so happy.
    I speak to granite. It is alive. I hug trees oft. And kiss their owies. And thats everyday- sober as a judge.

  22. Prairie Jane 2022-10-17 14:42

    I have said this previously, and still think it is true. Donald Trump activated male, non-college educated, blue collar, typically politcally apathetic voters in incredible numbers. A vast majority of those voters are recreational users themselves, and Trump being on the ballot with cannabis in 2020 was the perfect storm for the pro cannabis measures. With Trump not being on the ballot, those folks will stay home, as they always did before Trump, and the will of cannabis will be left to the traditionally older, more recognizable GOP electorate of years past.

    I dont see many Noem voters voting for IM 27, and pessimisticly that means I think both lose by around 4-5%.

    I hope I’m wrong.

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