The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

They get to keep making people criminals for attempting to alleviate their own suffering.

We started what became Measure 13 in November of 2008. Everyone, our opponents included, agreed that the 48%-52% loss in 2006 was narrow enough that a second shot would probably hit the mark.

Since the 2006 election I had been getting offers of help if I’d do some coordinating in bringing the issue up again. I put out a feeler: "Send me money. If I get $3500 by December 1 (2008), I’ll find a sponsor and bring patients in front of a legislative committee. Our chances are not good at getting the legislature to act, but we might get some press out of it."

In the 2009 session, we were granted approximately two hours to present testimony and listen to opponents talk. That’s quite a little for a hearing on whether to kill or advance a bill. The patients presented “compelling testimony” according to Reps. Nick Moser and Phil Jensen, but they voted to continue making them criminals and threatening them with arrest anyway. We spent about $6000 arranging that little show.

Emmett Reistroffer, 19 (at the time), of Sioux Falls had contacted me and said he wanted to help. He ended up ramrodding the whole petition process and the election campaign. He did a far better job than I would have done.

Our opponents during the past three or four months mounted a campaign that didn’t cost much, but we weren’t able to come up with the money to mass-market our message. Hard to say how much would have been sufficient, but our patients/spokespeople could have effected great consciousness-raising in 30-second ads.

I think the greatest part of the reason we got beat 65-35 yesterday is due to a large change in the voting demographic in 2010 as opposed to 2006. Add that to our lack of visibility just at the time our opponents became visible, and you get what we got.

Politics is the continual conversation over who gets to do what to whom. The victory for our opponents was that they get to continue to keep people criminal who are attempting to alleviate their medical conditions. That is the total of their victory.


Neal said...

Well, Bob, for what it's worth: thank you.

sikofemall said...

Did you know that this issue garnered more votes than the Governors race ? I'd say you sure stirred'em up Bob !!

taco said...

Yes, Bob thank you.

I think I will help in a meaningful way next time. Right now, I'm embarrassed to live in this state, I really am.

Bill Fleming said...

Could be too much hubris, not enough organizing.

You needed more help and something specific for them to do. Whoever was in charge needed to learn how to delegate, set goals for people and make sure they got met.

Fundraising goal should have been at least $50k, more like $100 would be better. You needed $10 from 10,000 people. Was there a Facebook Page or a Web page besides this one?

You got 116,000 votes. Imagine if half of them would all have sent you $5. You needed approx. 40,000 more votes.

Marking spent more promoting himself than your issue did and he only got 20,000 votes. You had a popular cause. He didn't.

Even so, it's probably tough to get people to ban smoking something on the one hand and support it on the other. Like it or not, both nicotine and THC are perceived as being both addictive and unhealthy.

(I don't want to argue about this, it doesn't matter what the truth is. Obviously. Ask Kristi Noem.)

Also, no income to the state (tax relief) or eco/devo in the proposed law. South Dakota is not a liberal state, ergo, you can't win with liberal arguments, no matter how right you are. There HAS to be a "what's in it for me" angle. Trust me on this. I've learned it the hard way all my political life.

Oh, and next time, don't make so much fun of the cops and the lawmakers. There are a lot of them on your side on this. You need more of them, not less.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to you and Emmett for shouldering this responsibility.

Similar late publicity effort by the opposition in California. Lies, lies, and more lies. Is there no support from the national reform organizations?

I just read a news release that quoted Emmett saying the proposed law was written well and he would bring it back in the same form in two years. I think that's a mistake. There are ambiguities. One opposition criticism that I thought might have merit: That it would create a rule-making nightmare for the AG and the HHS folks. While you don't want to craft a law that creates more attack points - there are spots that left me scratching my head and would leave openings for the rule-makers to trash your effort after it passed. I honestly didn't see a workable law.

The quote from the Pennington Co. Sheriff's Office indicating they couldn't support the law without seeing some support from the State Medical Association had to hurt.

Similarly, in reading the proposed law I couldn't see how anyone would get a scrip from a resident MD. He/She would be sanctioned immediately That type of support is going to be critical.

Bill's right-on. Start-up money to get a web-site up/running a year before the election will be critical. Solicit donations from the site. More States will be in the mix in 2012 - this issue isn't going away.

Again, thank you.

Duffer said...

*@$! keystroke

previous was mine


Neal said...

Maybe I'm just a pessimist, but I'm afraid Tuesday's results are a mortal blow to this issue here in SD.

35% is bad. Credibility-damaging bad. People are going to remember that.

One thing that needs to be done differently is voting on this in mid-term elections. Had it been on the ballot in 2008 I think it would have passed.

But I think 2012 might be too soon to bring it back.

And to hell with the national reform organizations. MPP gave over 600k to Arizona. I don't think SD got any at all.

Duffer said...

Neal - you make a good point.

SD voters don't want to see another effort from the anti-choice (abortion) folks - running this one around again (at least too soon) might well be viewed the same.

Something would have to change - like the Presidents' request last year for reconsideration of Cannabis' schedule 1 classification. That one truly is hard to believe.

KenG said...

Thanks for all the hard work Bob. The last couple of years you've had your hands plenty full. Yet you found time to work for the sick all the while trying to right wrongs.

I think Holders memo saying the Feds wouldn't be prosecuting medical marijuana users ended up being a double edged sword. On one hand it was a major victory for the anti-prohibition side. On the other it unleashed a whole hoard of folks wanting to get rich off of the new green gold. California, Colorado and Montana were inundated with new dispensaries.

Unfortunately too many of them thought the general public was ready for pot shops on every corner. In my opinion, had they stayed discreet and abstained from putting large pot leaves on their store fronts Arizona and South Dakota would today be celebrating new medical marijuana laws. Well that and the fact that Democrats seemed to have given up and failed to vote in large numbers to stem the Red tide.

If anything, the California, South Dakota and Arizona propositions put the issue smack dab on the nations front door and all across their television screens. The issue isn't laughed about or mocked anymore, it has become a serious discussion. Our side now has influential organizations and many respected individuals backing us up. It's only a matter of time now, not if, but when.

Thanks again for all your hard work!


repete said...

Might be interesting to ask for a new law that forces our local enforcement to recognize the medical cards from other states here in SD... (Just like the concealed weapons permits)
After all, tourism is BIG business for SD. We don't want to stop ill people from visiting Mt Rushmore and glorifying in all of our bought and paid for USA freedoms.

Anonymous said...

from Mercurial

The reason this did not have a better chance was because it was a mid-term election. A far bigger percentage of the electorate during these elections is old, white, fuddy-duddy Repubicans. It would have been better by far to have waited another two years. The problem now is that after two straight defeats, people will start getting the impression that it is merely beating a dead horse.

larry kurtz said...

If Tom Nelson will get on board this issue is not dead. This from the Billings Gazette.

Bob Newland said...

I doubt that Sen. Nelson or anyone else with legislative credibility will lead a charge on medical cannabis in the next legislature.

It's possible that with enough credible voices calling for such a measure Sen. Nelson and others could be convinced. Where are those voices?

larry kurtz said...

Median age, Bob. South Dakota is terminal. Gobble, gobble, gobble.

Duffer said...


If you haven't yet, take a spin over to NORML's site and read their new story on: 10 Lessons learned from marijuana election defeats.