In the historic election cycle that took place earlier this month, multiple states made their voices heard in regard to the prohibition of cannabis and they voted to legalize it. As we reported last week, in many of these states, the ballot measures to legalize cannabis received more votes than both Biden and Trump. South Dakota was one of these states. Now, despite the overwhelming support for legalization by the people, drug war-addicted cops are challenging the popular vote.
Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom and South Dakota Highway Patrol Col. Rick Miller are not okay with the citizens of South Dakota having access to the devil’s lettuce, so they have filed a lawsuit challenging the voter referendum that legalized cannabis.
Thom and Miller are nitpicking the vote to legalize by challenging what is little less than a strawman they created. They say the vote to legalize cannabis which required a constitutional amendment to do so — was done so illegally — because semantics.
According to a report from Dakota News Now:
The lawsuit covers two issues. The first is the state’s one-subject rule, which South Dakota voters approved two years ago. It says voters can only amend one subject at a time. The plaintiffs argue Amendment A has five subjects: legalizing marijuana, regulating recreational marijuana, taxing marijuana, requiring the legislature to pass laws on hemp, and ensuring access to medical marijuana.
This is an utterly ridiculous claim as a state cannot legalize marijuana without regulating it recreationally, taxing it, and allowing for medical marijuana in the process. All of these are not separate issues but rather one complex issue that entails the state regulating the plant.
Their second problem with the vote holds even less water.
The second issue focuses on the amendments and revisions article of the South Dakota Constitution. The plaintiffs argue the amendment itself does not amend the South Dakota constitution, but rather, revises it. A revision is a fundamental change to the constitution, while an amendment is a change to a specific part or subject. In South Dakota, any revision to the constitution requires a three-fourths vote from both chambers of the state legislature.
“Our constitutional amendment procedure is very straightforward,” Miller said, via a statement. “In this case, the group bringing Amendment A unconstitutionally abused the initiative process. We’re confident that the courts will safeguard the South Dakota Constitution and the rule of law.”
We wonder if these two drug war advocates would be so quick to challenge a similarly passed referendum if it entailed raises for police officers.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem — who became a hero to many libertarians and conservatives for her refusal to shut down businesses during the pandemic — also supports the lawsuit, calling the vote to legalize, “the wrong choice.” Apparently, Noem only believes in leaving the citizens alone in regard to a pandemic but when it comes to their choice to use a plant that heals them, they need to be kidnapped and caged. Seems legit.
Advocates for the bill are confident that the lawsuit holds no water and the citizens of South Dakota will not have their voice overturned.
“We are prepared to defend Amendment A against this lawsuit. Our opponents should accept defeat instead of trying to overturn the will of the people,” South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, the group that backed the amendment, said in a statement in response to the filing. “Amendment A was carefully drafted, fully vetted, and approved by a strong majority of South Dakota voters this year.”
As TFTP has reported, law enforcement and their conservative supporters need cannabis to remain illegal to justify their existence. Without the ability to kick in doors in the middle of the night to arrest those evil drug users, the role of law enforcement is vastly diminished. This is troublesome for the religious right as well, who continues to buy into the reefer madness sold to their parents and grandparents decades ago.
It’s not just cops and right wingers who hate legal weed either. High level members of the Democratic party and their backers in the alcohol industry are also working behind the scenes to keep prohibition alive.
As we reported at the time, when the good people at Marijuana.com went through the WikiLeaks dump of the DNC emails, they found mountains of email texts, detailing a paid segment by the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA), stoking fear within Washington, encouraging politicians to be wary of marijuana legalization.
However, the alcohol industry, as well as pro drug war cops are basing their propaganda on entirely skewed data.
AAA’s safety foundation released a report concerning cannabis impairment and driving, which proved blood testing drivers for THC holds no scientific validity and should be abandoned. But a second part of the report found that — strictly statistically speaking — car crashes involving drivers who had consumed cannabis were on the rise.
In fact, the number of people involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for cannabis did rise — a statistical doubling — but several caveats to this information were flatly ignored by the mainstream and the WSWA for political advantage.
First, and of no small importance, cannabis isn’t even close to the leading cause of fatal crashes. In fact, when it comes to deadly accidents where the driver tested positive for cannabis, “most” had also consumed alcohol or other drugs.
According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, of 592 drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2013, 38 tested positive for cannabis. In the following year, of 619 deadly crashes, the number testing positive for cannabis jumped to 75. However, as Staci Hoff, Research Director for WTSC, explained:
“Most of these drivers, these 75 drivers, also had alcohol or other drugs” in their systems. Over a five-year period, just 1.8 percent of fatal crashes involved drivers who tested positive only for cannabis.
“So, in our study, we looked at all five years of date, 2010 to 2014,” Hoff continued, “and there were never 3,000 drivers involved in these fatal crashes during that time period. Only 56 of them had THC and only THC, nothing else.”
This skewed statistic has been used by law enforcement, mainstream media, and the alcohol lobby to stoke fear about legalizing weed. Politicians and the public alike, have been eating it up and demanding that we have something that can measure ‘how high’ someone is while driving.
The alcohol industry does not make money by attempting to decrease drunk driving, so why are they spending so much money in an ostensible attempt to decrease high driving? Well, as long as they can use the government to keep their competition illegal and maintain a monopoly on an individual’s choice of impairment, they will.
If you want to know who profits from ruining lives and throwing marijuana users in cages, we need only look at who bribes (also known as lobbies) the politicians to keep the war on drugs alive.
Below is a list of the top five industries who need you locked in a cage for possessing a plant in order to ensure their job security.
- Police Unions: Coming in as the number one contributor to politicians for their votes to lock you in a cage for a plant are the police themselves. They risk taking massive pay cuts and losing all their expensive militarized toys without the war on drugs.
- Private Prison Corporations: No surprise here. The corporatist prison lobby is constantly pushing for stricter laws to keep their stream of tax dollars flowing.
- Alcohol and Beer Companies: These giant corporations hate competition, so why not pay millions to keep a cheaper and far safer alcohol alternative off the market? Case in point, the WSWA.
- Pharmaceutical Corporations: The hypocrisy of marijuana remaining a Schedule 1 drug, “No Medical Use Whatsoever,” seems criminal when considering that pharmaceutical companies reproduce a chemical version of THC and can market and sell it as such. Ever hear of Marinol? Big pharma simply uses the force of the state to legislate out their competition; that happens to be nature.
- Prison Guard Unions: The prison guard unions are another group, so scared of losing their jobs, that they would rather see thousands of non-violent and morally innocent people thrown into cages than look for another job.