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Friday, September 29, 2023

Polarized debate continues over marijuana legalization

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RAPID CITY, SD (KEVN) – With the election day five days away, the polarizing debate over marijuana legalization continues.

Yes, 27 campaign manager Matthew Schuich and four members of the Law Enforcement and Veterans Alliance held a virtual press conference to discuss why IM 27 is so important. “They don’t see the extent to which our current approach has failed, they have this exciting market for decades, and they just want to maintain the status quo… They fail to recognize another option here which is taking cannabis from the illegal market and regulating it … “says Shuish.

Quotes from proponents of Scale 27:

  • Rosanna Reno, veteran/retired police officer in Dallas: “During my years as a police officer, I’ve had a street-level look at drug use, seen meth, heroin, and cocaine putting people in the morgue but never using marijuana. In my opinion, arresting people Their personal possession of marijuana is a distraction to the police, it is a waste of time and resources that could be spent fighting real crime.”
  • Becky Leach, Army Veteran: “…I asked one of my VA providers if it would be OK to get my medical cannabis card. I wanted to treat my condition and reduce pills. They said it would be fine and not affect my VA benefits or My ability to use VA services but if I decide to get my card I will have to adjust my treatment plan.Ultimately, it may mean that my VA providers can no longer prescribe any of the current medications I receive from the VA…Give up my prescribed medications Not an option for me. Suddenly or completely stopping the medication would harm my health.”
  • JoAnn Jorgensen, South Dakota Police Officer: “…In my opinion, keeping marijuana illegal doesn’t make us safer. It’s a distraction from more serious problems. With six grandchildren, I’m more concerned about them finding fentanyl pills, lace-up birth control pills, More in the ballpark than marijuana… It doesn’t make sense to waste precious time on marijuana arrests when precious time has to be spent on fentanyl-coated pills that kill more people…”
  • Bill Stoker, retired USMC/Sioux Falls police officer: “I’ve maintained close relationships with the police here in Sioux Falls, and they tell me the same thing we tell you. These marijuana arrests are a waste of time and resources, and that we can do other things.” Secondly, our opponents use some cases of modern drug trade as an argument against 27, but this does not make sense because maintaining the current decriminalization of cannabis is what will keep the dealers in business. The status quo does not work.”

From the other side of the debate, Jim Kinyon of Protecting South Dakota Kids gave his opinion on IM 27 “Telling you they want to pretend they’re going to regulate marijuana and make it safe, I’ll just point out the fact that in all the states that have endorsed the rise in violent recreational marijuana crime and the cartels follow legalization and they do That’s primarily because you’re creating a much broader market.”

Quotes from those who oppose Action 27:

  • Brian Mueller, Bennington County Mayor-elect: “I look out the window of my office on campus care and prison, and facilities filled with people battling addiction. I ask the community to consider protecting our way of life and our children before introducing additional intoxicants.”
  • Pat West, Mead County Mayor-elect, Law Enforcement Liaison Officer to Protect SD Children: “The costs are too high. Legalizing marijuana does not eliminate the black market or access to children. Cartels are stronger than ever in Colorado and we expect nothing less in South Dakota.”
  • Steve Allender, Mayor of Rapid City: “We must be open enough to learn lessons from other states that have legalized marijuana. Legalization will impact our public safety and health efforts in communities across South Dakota.”
  • Don Hedrick, Rapid City Police Chief: “Government officials, nonprofits, law enforcement, and other community stakeholders are working around the clock to find ways to address mental health issues, disabled drivers, and violent crime fueled by drug abuse. Today, by design, THC products are the most Effective than ever. Legalizing another intoxicant will increase stress on our mental health system, public safety, and criminal justice systems. It will not make our children healthier, it will not make adult users more productive, and it will not make our society more accountable.”

64 mayors and at least three elected mayors out of 66 districts oppose marijuana. The South Dakota Police Chiefs Association opposes marijuana. Local public safety officials are urging a “no” vote to recreational marijuana, asking the public to consider carefully the negative consequences and societal costs of legalization.


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