Press "Enter" to skip to content

Jackley Ignores All Comments, Even the Few Relevant Ones, Makes no Changes to Explanation of Medical-Marijuana Repeal Initiative

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.


  1. John 2023-08-16 08:27

    Authoritarians don’t want your comment, thought, or input. They want power. They, like Jackley, absolutely do not want your participation in democracy. Jackley and his elites like noem and rhoden know what’s best for you and the rest of us little people. Jackley, likely begrudgingly, completed a rote statuary obligation doing the least he could to preclude losing a lawsuit. Pretending that Jackley is an improvement over the past holder of that office is a very low bar.

  2. Donald Pay 2023-08-16 08:32

    I can see the need for a ballot explanation, but that used to be done after a petition was found to have the number of signatures to qualify for the ballot. Front-loading this explanation is unnecessary. The explanation should be written by the Legislative Research Council, not the AG.

    At least now drafting this explanation is transparent and open to public comment. It used to be all behind the AG’s closed doors, where lobbyists wandered in to suggest particular words they wanted inserted into the explanation.

  3. Mike Zitterich 2023-08-16 08:57

    As a constitutionalist, I like the fact that some of the counties are organizing to place the Medical Marijuana law up for repeal. For some, it will be looked at as a form of repealing what the voters supported, however, when a law is deemed to be written in such manner, it causing problems throughout the state, the people do have the right to bring it back to the ballot for reconsideration. The group led by Travis Ismay have every right, to adopt laws, or get rid of laws that become burdensome upon their ability to selfgovern themselves as they wish. And thanks to the fact that the voters strongly voted against legalizing marijuana in 2022, now we have a clear mandate that a huge amount of South Dakotan’s do not support marijuana. Many of the reasons why this group of voters are petitioning the people to place S.D.C.L 34-20G up for repeal, is the manner of which their county commissions are conducting themselves, thus unlawfully applying the law itself. So, the only means to fix the law, is to bring the law up for reconsideration, asking the voters to repeal it, allowing them to bring back to the voters in the future, a re-written law that best makes more sense. It is true, that counties and cities should have the right under our constitution to ban the drug entirely if they so choose, something that the current law does not allow, it is true, that under the constittion, home rule chartered communities have the right to express themselves, and govenr themselves as they so choose, something that the current law does not allow them to do. So the only way to fix this situation, is to repeal S.D.C.L 34-20G then allow the voters to rewrite the law, and place it on the ballot in 2026. I have no idea why some of you Democrats are so upset with this process, when you have the same right to put up any of our current laws up for reconsideration also. If you truly feel you have the proper # of voters to maintain the law, and you feel that the voters clearly support the law, what are you so afraid of?

    I have spoken to Travis Ismay, and some of the others in their county, and I believe they are sincere, and considerate of all the People of South Dakota, however, due to the many issues they are seeing in Butte and Lawrence County of the side-effects stemming from the law itself, their only means to fix it, is to petition the voters, asking to repeal the law, while furthermore, working with the voters to re-write it, publish it, to petition the voters in the future, thus bringing it back in 2026 getting it right. This is NOT authoritarian as some of you have claimed, this is the process of which we utilize, to best govern ourselves in a “Free Republic”.

    The Statistics show, that since S.D.C.L 34-20G was implemented, we have only approved of something like 150,000 medical marijuana certificates, so while it, the law has gone fully into effect, less than 1/3 of our total population has been approved to use Marijuana. So petitioning the voters today, cause some of us do not think the law is working right, is the perfect time.

    It is not the end of the world, folks, laws can be repealed anytime, while coming back in a different form in the future. This is what makes South Dakota such a great state, ‘we’ still uphold our constitutional right to make laws that best represent our desires, wishes, and beliefs.

    – Mike Zitterich
    Minnehaha County
    Precinct 5-22

  4. grudznick 2023-08-16 09:09

    grudznick read all the emails. They just demonstrate exactly why the public can’t be trusted with the measures initiated or to even grasp the finer points of the processes. Those people should be slapped.

  5. P. Aitch 2023-08-16 09:32

    Don’t believe Mike Zitterich. As usual he’s inventing statistics and using his opinion as fact.

    FYI – There are only around 70,000 medical marijuana cards active in Colorado: a state of approximately three million people.
    Are we to believe there are twice as many medical marijuana cards in South Dakota? A year ago, KELO said there was just over one thousand.

  6. grudznick 2023-08-16 10:24

    Mr. Pay, the Council of Research for the legislatures is inept and more likely to accept “help” from interested parties, like my good friend Lar, to write words for them.

  7. larry kurtz 2023-08-16 11:44

    Anyone who believes Mr. Ismay will get 17,509 valid to roll back therapeutic cannabis in South Dakota is delusional.

  8. larry kurtz 2023-08-16 11:45

    Anyone who believes Mr. Ismay will get 17,509 valid signatures to roll back therapeutic cannabis in South Dakota is delusional.

  9. All Mammal 2023-08-16 11:48

    Mr. Jackley and the rest of our state government need to know that when we look at them, all there is to see is Mr. Z.
    I hope that frightens and embarrasses them. It frightens me too and trust me, we are all looking like one sorry bunch of drowned rats with nothing to grasp, so we keep pulling each other asunder.
    The AG is demonstrating he, and his Pierre rat pack are titular and rather unnecessary because they do not work for us atall.

  10. Jet Johnson 2023-08-16 12:55

    Travis Ismay is one interesting character. I am unclear why his position on cannabis is so rigid. Or why he cares so much. Since medical cannabis became legal in South Dakota, I have not noticed any change in the quality of my life–at least none that could possibly be causally related to the legalization of medicinal cannabis. Most trends with homelessness, skyrocketing cost of housing, etc. were positively increasing well before the law was passed in November of 2020 or enacted the following year.

    If you look at Mr. Ismay’s Facebook, he clearly has no problem with other drugs, i.e. alcohol. I don’t know how many people consumed enough cannabis to die or caused accidents under the influence of cannabis exclusively (statistics on these are skewed anyway due to the propensity to use cannabis in conjunction with other substances as well as the time frame THC stays in your bodyfat and hair before metabolizing), but I do with alcohol. I know a lot of serious alcoholics here in South Dakota, and frankly, my opinion mirrors Willie Nelson’s. Cannabis is, at the absolute worst, the lesser of all evils in the world of psychoactive substances. I would prefer someone consume cannabis and potentially become sleepy and hungry and lazy than have them consume alcohol, which will have similar effects but also makes them violent, prone to extremely poor judgment in public, and is all-around toxic.

    To put that another way, I don’t see many potheads, be they medicinal or recreational, throw up on sidewalks or get in fights downtown or engage in otherwise extremely reckless behavior. I see that quite frequently with people under the influence of alcohol though, especially this time of year in Rapid City and the Black Hills.

    Given Mr. Ismay’s lifestyle, it would not appear he is receiving funding from outside sources. So I can’t help but wonder what it is that is driving his hatred for cannabis.

  11. grudznick 2023-08-16 13:21

    Mr. Johnson, the Demon Weed is bad. It is very bad. I don’t have any faith in this “Call me Ismay” fellow, but he’s on the right tack here.

  12. P. Aitch 2023-08-16 13:50

    “Call me Ismay “. Good one, grudz. 👍🏻 😊

  13. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-08-16 14:55

    While you all get so upset over any ballot measures ballot measures of getting petitioned that may or may not be supported by yourselves, there is really nothing the government can do to block them, nor would you want the government to block any ones petition from going on a future ballot. IF the government were to block petition drives, it would appear the government is to tyrannical for one, and two, it cannot constitutionally block any one’s legal petition from going onto a future ballot. The only role the government an play is to ensure the proper process is being adhered to:

    Step 1: The Petitioner (or group) must form, draft, write their proposed initiative or resolution in the proper style, form, and manner;

    Step 2: The Petitioner must submit the Proposed initiative or resolution to the L.R.C allowing for it to be inspected for errors in form of style, form, and manner, let alone to review any potential conflicts with federal or state statutes it will potentially work alongside with;

    Step 3: The Petitioner must submit the final draft approved of by the L.R.C to the Attorney General Office allowing for that constitutional office to provide an Legal Opinion, and statement to the voters, explaining the pros and cons of the measure, as such, to provide to the voters a greater understanding of the purpose of the initiative or resolution;

    Step 4: The Attorney General opens up the Proposed Measure to the Public for inspection, further review, and opinion on both the measure itself, let alone the Legal opinion wording.

    Step 5: The Petitioner finally must submit to the Secretary of State allowing the constitutional office to begin the petition phase, file the notice of petition, publishing it on the Official Secretary of State’s Website, thus giving to the voters the ability to gain copies of, and to read.

    Step 6: The Petitioners begin the Petition Phase, of seeking signatures to place on the ballot, where the Secretary then validates the signatures. Once complete, it goes on the ballot to be approved or disproved by the voters.

    Why are you all attacking people for standing up for what they believe in? If people not like such laws, they have the right to petition, and organize to repeal the law, in order to make better laws.

  14. larry kurtz 2023-08-16 15:12

    Mr. Zitterich is not wrong. If it’s not South Dakota’s psychotic legislature nullifying the will of voters it’s the Gestapo like Kevin Thoms suing in a Republican-glutted court system to chill the civil liberties of tax paying adults.

  15. All Mammal 2023-08-17 00:49

    Petition on. Circulate. It’d just be way cooler if AG Jackley considered a clearer explanation for Mr. Ismay’s petition. I think it would help the voters, as well as the circulators.

    I bet Mr. Ismay is tickled he isn’t required to collect equal percentages of valid signatures in all 66 counties. Cuz that would suuuck.

    Does anyone know why Travis Ismay wants to force sick people whose doctor prescribes them primeval medicine to get sent to the hoosegow..? Who can really say?. I don’t want him to go to jail for what he does to feel better. Folks keep wanting to tell others what to do based on their master’s demands. Shouldn’t we all be free to not obey some other dude’s master?

  16. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-08-17 05:26

    Several issues related to SDCL 34-20G are reasons to repeal the law, allowing your Marijuana Faithful bring back to the ballot a better law:

    1) Several parts of the law conflict with federal law, providing confusion to S.D Law Enforcement to police activity,

    2) With the disproval of the 2022 Recreational Marijuama, now Counties and Cities are forced NOT to ban the drug if they so wish,

    3) The law itself gives to Doctors the right to subscribe an unlawful drug, for 3, 10, 15, 30, 45 , 90, 365 days, this rule forces so called Medical Patients to pay expensive fees regularily everytime they are prescribed or permitted,

    4) Nothing in the law prevents pop up clinics of subscribing marijuana without properly assessing medical conditions;

    5) The law itself conflicts with the Motor Vehicle Code, creates confusion to law enforcement to police driving under the influence,

    6) In several Counties, such as Butte, Lawrence, and Meade, pot farmers are manipulating the law, asking for variances to change conditional uses, which lead to violations of SDCL 34-20G, showing clear manners of how the law can be manipulated,

    Plenty of Counties are leading the charge to repeal the law, allowing the petitioners to easily get the 17,500 signatures to go on ballot – Lawrence, Butte, Meade, can easily get 17,000 alone….

  17. larry kurtz 2023-08-17 07:22

    In South Dakota freedom is another word for nothing left to choose.

    That Mr. Ismay’s endeavors would empower tribal communities to be the sole producers and distributors of a product so many people enjoy seems grossly out of character with his hatred for non-white folk but there it is.

  18. All Mammal 2023-08-17 19:34

    According to you, Mr. Zitterich, obtaining signatures exclusively from 3 conservative counties: is not fair! They should have to collect just as many signatures from the liberal counties too.
    I didn’t think so.
    Good luck with finding the numbers needed in those sparse counties. It might take awhile to spread out to find them all.

    What is with conservatives wanting to tell everyone what they can and cannot do according to their shriveled experience of the world? I could give two scoffs what you do in your doctor’s office. Do you and let me do me, how bout, eh?

    For someone who has never suffered debilitating pain to go out of their way to make sure patients suffering critical conditions are put in jail for using a plant is vicious and hypocritical. For someone to go out of their way to demonize a plant they have never had the curiosity to try is disturbing. Maybe circulating is just an excuse to get to go door to door and be a nosy little snitch. Who can really say?. Have fun.

Comments are closed.