In the historic election cycle that took place in November, multiple states made their voices heard in regard to the prohibition of cannabis and they voted to legalize it. As we reported, 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 challenged the popular vote — and overturned it.
Immediately after the vote, Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom and South Dakota Highway Patrol Col. Rick Miller came out fighting, letting the state know that they are not okay with the citizens of South Dakota having access to the devil's lettuce, so they filed a lawsuit challenging the voter referendum that legalized cannabis.
Thom and Miller nitpicked the vote to legalize by challenging what is little less than a strawman they created. They said the vote to legalize cannabis which required a constitutional amendment to do so -- was done so illegally -- because semantics.
A report last year from Dakota News Now explains:
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 was 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 held 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.”
Nevertheless, as the Argus Leader reports, Circuit Court Judge Christina Klinger ruled Monday that Constitutional Amendment A violates the state Constitution on these two grounds: It violates the single subject rule, meaning it encompassed more than one topic, and it conflicts with language in the Constitution that provides for its modification.
We wonder if these two drug war advocates would have been 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 supported 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.
Sadly, reefer madness seems to be spreading. In Idaho this month, drug war addicted politicians didn't wait for their citizens to vote to legalize cannabis. Instead they preemptively pushed legislation that prohibits the legalization of pot and other psychoactive drugs in the state.
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“Senators, we have a duty to protect our children, our families, our communities from the scourge of drugs and the drug culture which we have seen go clear across this nation,” Republican Sen. Scott Grow said in opening the debate on the Senate floor for the legislation he sponsored — sounding like Dr. Alfred Carroll from Reefer Madness.
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.
The bottom line is that legal cannabis is a threat to police unions, prison companies, alcohol lobbies, and pharmaceutical companies because they profit off the prohibition. The fact that innocent people are kidnapped and caged so special interests can enrich themselves illustrates just how much of a farce, the land of the free really is.