After Attorney General Marty Jackley published his draft explanation of Travis Ismay’s proposed initiative to repeal South Dakota’s medical marijuana laws, I submitted five reasonable suggestions for making that ballot explanation simpler, clearer, and more objective. A.G. Jackley ignored all of my suggestions and published his final ballot explanation of Ismay’s measure with zero changes from the original draft.
My comment was just one of 48 that Jackley received (mine is in the July 27–31 batch; Jackley posts August 1–6 comments in a second PDF). Alas, as usual, almost all of the other comments say nothing about the draft explanation itself, the revision of which is the whole purpose of the ten-day comment period on draft ballot explanations. Most of the comments are just rants in favor of or against medical marijuana, often mistaking the initiative as something the Attorney General is promoting. A couple commenters ask where they can sign the petition, which doesn’t exist yet and which the Attorney General has nothing to do with. One completely out-of-touch commenter asked the Governor putting her face on a race car.
In the midst of one pro-cannabis screed, commenter Rachel Hagenbaugh did throw in a language critique that Jackley could have considered: “Marijuana is a derogatory term made off the racism of Mexicans. Please use cannabis instead.” (This claim is dubious at best.)
The only other statutorily relevant comment came from repeal sponsor Travis Ismay himself, asking the Attorney General to remove the entire first paragraph of his ballot explanation dealing with the voters’ approval of the medical cannabis law in 2020 and the scope of that law. Jackley ignored Ismay’s suggestion just as he ignored mine. So radical Republican Ismay and I have that in common.
With the A.G.’s final ballot explanation published, Ismay may now print his final draft of his petition and circulator handouts and seek the Secretary of State’s approval to circulate his petition. Ismay has until May 7, 2024, to collect 17,509 registered voters’ signatures to place his desired repeal of medical marijuana to a statewide vote in the 2024 general election.