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Daugaard, Presentation Sisters Spend Money to Fight Marijuana Inc.

Former Governor Dennis Daugaard and the Presentation Sisters agree: recreational marijuana is bad.

Dennis Daugaard came into 2022 with $313,865.57 in his campaign war chest. The former governor’s induction into the South Dakota Hall of Fame probably prohibits him from running for public office ever again, so he has to spend that money on other people. So far this year, Daugaard has spent $98,348.54 from his campaign fund, and the biggest check he’s written is $25,000 to Protecting South Dakota Kids, the conservative/Catholic ballot question committee cloaking a somewhat misleading campaign against Initiated Measure 27, this year’s marijuana-legalization measure, in the typical Q-publican assertion that its opponents are preying on children.

Daugaard’s $25K ties for the largest donation the anti-potters have received. There are a handful of other donors throwing five figures at reefer madness—Miles and Lisa Beacom, Dan Engesser, Robert and Rita Fischer, the South Dakota Police Chiefs Association, the Contractors PAC, and Mayor Paul TenHaken’s Next generation Leadership PAC—but only Debra and Robert Mudge of Rapid City have matched Daugaard’s $25K.

But among the mostly rich conservative donors, the somewhat more progressive Presentation Sisters have also thrown in with the anti-IM 27 group to the tune of $2,500. That’s just a tenth of the cash Daugaard has contributed from his hefty campaign leftovers, but the Presentation Sisters arguably carry ten times the moral authority of any elected official past or present in South Dakota.

Counting two supplemental reports filed since Monday’s pre-general deadline, the anti-IM 27 committee has raised over $437,227.05 since organizing this summer to fight the legalization of marijuana. IM 27 proponent South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws has two committees, one with “Inc.” appended to its name. The Inc committee reports raising $492,647.78 and receiving another $102,715.24 in donated goods and services since the primary. The original SDBML raised $47,332.24 and received another $126,126 in donated goods and services pre-primary to conduct the petition drive that placed IM 27 on the November ballot. Most of IM 27’s financial support is coming from marijuana businesses. This supporting document shows 88% of SDBML Inc’s cash coming from Marijuana Inc—i.e., corporations eager to sell marijuana in South Dakota:

South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws Inc., supporting documentation to pre-general campaign finance report, filed 2022.10.25.
South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws Inc., supporting documentation to pre-general campaign finance report, filed 2022.10.25.

But SDBML Inc. has its own aisle-crossing political support. Former Republican legislator Deb Peters continues her support of of cannabis capitalism by throwing $9,900 of her PAC money (under the clever moniker PAC’n Heat) behind the IM 27 campaign. Plus, the liberal Democrats lawyering at Robins Kaplan law firm (one of  whom, Brendan Johnson, is sponsoring IM 27) threw another $1,000 of their PAC money to SDBML Inc.

p.s.: Both Protecting South Dakota Kids and South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws have committed campaign finance errors. PSDK lists a donation from “Roy and Kathleen” of 1106 N. Josephine in Madison. Even though I know which Roy and Kathleen PSDK is talking about, campaign finance reports should include full names of donors. Meanwhile, SDBML Inc. didn’t submit its pre-general report until five minutes before midnight on Monday. The Secretary of State usually requires election-related documents be filed by office closing time, 5 p.m. Central. Worse, SDBML did not provide names or addresses for any of its $100.01+ donors until Tuesday, after the deadline. That omittive delay was even worse than Jamie Smith’s, yet, strangely, the anti-pot Kristi Noem campaign and the SDGOP didn’t screech a word about demanding an investigation by DCI.


  1. larry kurtz 2022-10-28 07:16

    Recall that in 2013 Denny Daugaard and his wife dressed up for Halloween as Phil and Kay Robinson, the racist stars of Duck Dynasty, a dog whistle program for the extreme white wing of the Republican Party. The Presentation Sisters work for a global crime syndicate known for its pederasty.

  2. larry kurtz 2022-10-28 07:33

    Cannabis sales on reservations could generate the resources needed to sue the Presentation Sisters, their bosses and the State of South Dakota for a century of abuses.

  3. Phil 2022-10-28 09:40

    For consistency in the noble pursuit of child protection, I would think the anti weed folks would be doing something about the ease of access to a wide range of alcohol products. Beer is a readily available gateway drug, yet it is a big part of the pageantry of All American Patriotic college football games. Of course, no child has ever been harmed by collegiate alcohol abuse, or any other sort of parental or personal alcohol abuse.

  4. bearcreekbat 2022-10-28 11:31

    The groups and individuals opposing changing our criminal laws concerning marijuana use and possession apparently are happy with the status quo. We seem to be arresting enough people to satisfy them. They also seem satified with an uncontrolled black market for marijuana. They seem satisfied with children’s current ability to obtain marijuana from the black market or from the 19 states that have legalized marijuana. They seem happy with SD’s archaic laws on the books so the State can inflict criminal punishments on adults and children and tag them with a scarlet criminal conviction letter for life.

    But if I am wrong, the anti-legalization crowd could take a lesson from the anti-choice crowd and make possession and use of marijuana a Class A felony punishable by life in prison or the death sentence similar to the new laws on unauthorized abortions. The advantages of imposing the death sentence on marijuana smokers would be to reduce the number of such smokers in the state and make it absolutely clear that the most serious danger of smoking marijuana is a severe and permanent State punishment.

    I doubt that even the most vehement anti-marijuana advocate really wants the State to start killing marijuana users (apparently in contrast to the most vehement anti-choicers), so best just to keep the draconian marijuana use prevention laws in their current cruel and unworkable state, right?.

  5. Mark Anderson 2022-10-28 16:49

    Well, Willie won’t ever play in Yabber Dean.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-10-28 17:03

    Oh, Mark, I think the Presentation Sisters would welcome Willie Nelson to play guitar for them, and I think Willie would have a good time doing so. He and most of the Sisters are of the same age. The Sisters are pretty good at living out the Gospel of welcoming all, even folks who may engage in activities of their religion disapproves or who don’t even share their faith. (I speak from personal experience.)

  7. larry kurtz 2022-10-28 17:18

    Mary Jane Oatman is executive director of the Intertribal Cannabis Industry Association. She spoke earlier this month at the organization’s conference in Milwaukee as did Rich Tall Bear Westerman (Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota Oyate).

    Tall Bear Westerman has three separate state licenses for dispensaries in South Dakota. He plans to open his operations, Green Tatanka, in November 2022, where he leases state property on state land. He pointed out that when the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988 was being discussed, every casino project was approved if it created a small business economy. However, some say that cannabis presents a second opportunity where tribes can help their entrepreneurs, and this time there are some advantages: land.

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-10-28 17:18

    Suing the Presentation Sisters would do no good.

    The Presentation Sisters act with conscience in all of their activities. Their financial support of the campaign against IM 27 indicates they believe legalizing the recreational use of another intoxicating substance is ultimately bad for society.

    Now I’m curious: have the Sisters opposed past marijuana measures? Have they opposed gamlbing initiatives?

  9. Arlo Blundt 2022-11-04 14:13

    The Presentation Sisters taught me how to read and write. Many of them were from South Dakota and some from Milwaukee. They insisted on firm discipline and respectful interaction. I have no bone to pick with the Sisters. They have contributed significantly, through education and health care to the progress of South Dakota.

  10. larry kurtz 2023-01-17 15:10

    Presentation just announced it will close after the summer session so there must be little financial gain fighting civil liberties.

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