KELO-TV turns to lengthy woeful comments from Rapid City marijuana dealer Kittrick Jeffries to lament the failure of Initiated Measure 27 and the various ways in which South Dakota may fall behind.
But not to worry—as usual, South Dakotans who can’t get what they want locally (tax-free groceries, inclusive politics…) will be able to hop the border to the Free People’s Republic of Minnesota, where newly reëlected Democratic-Farmer-Labor Governor Tim Walz says one of the first things he and the diverse Democrats who now control the Legislature will work on is legalizing marijuana:
Walz in an appearance on WCCO radio Friday morning reiterated that it could happen next year. Former Gov. Jesse Ventura, who endorsed Walz’s campaign in the final days, that the incumbent DFL governor said cannabis for adults would be one of the first bills signed next session, a conversation Walz confirmed took place.
He credited Ventura for starting the conversation in Minnesota sooner than it was more common in states nationwide. After Tuesday’s election, where the issue was before voters in some states, 21 states have legalized marijuana for recreational use.
“It just makes sense. Prohibition didn’t work. We get better regulation.” Walz said. “I just mentioned that I think it would be important to recognize him, asked him if he would be there when we get this done” [Caroline Cummings, “Gov. Tim Walz, Democrats Signal Recreational Marijuana Could Be Legalized Next Session,” CBS Minnesota, 2022.11.11].
But marijuana will be competing with a lot of other priorities for that first signing ceremony in Governor Walz’s office. Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman, says codifying the right to abortion to reinforce Minnesota’s Doe v. Gomez ruling from last summer “will be one of the first, if not the first bill passed.” Speaker Hortmann also promises action on “climate, gun violence prevention, and protecting democracy.”
Liberalization of marijuana laws is the least of the ways in which Minnesota’s Democratic Governor and Legislature will be leaving South Dakota behind in the coming couple years. Also leaving South Dakota behind: young voters, at least for a weekend to Worthington for some soothing weed, if not for a permanent relocation to live under rational policymakers addressing the real problems of 21st-century democracy.