SDFT MMBB

Sioux Falls Free Thinkers pro-medical marijuana billboard layout, January 2015.

Ryan Gaddy of South Dakotans Against Prohibition tells us that legislation promoting medical marijuana will be available for anyone who wants to take it to Pierre. Gaddy apparently has found allies among the Sioux Falls Free Thinkers, who are bankrolling thirteen billboards around Sioux Falls.

Whether Gaddy can find allies in the Legislature is another question. The only faintly pot-friendly bill in last year's session was Senate Bill 113, which eased the activities suspension period for high school students busted for drugs, and the focus of that bill was still on telling kids, "Don't do drugs." A lively but small bipartisan coalition got HCR 1017, a resolution supporting industrial hemp, through the House but not the stodgy old Senate and industrial hemp just goes on your body, not in your body. Emery medical marijuana advocate Melissa Mentele of South Dakota Family Coalition for Compassion* told the press last Friday that she still hasn't found a legislator to carry her group's proposal this year.

A few candidates (Weiland, Myers) expressed their support for medical marijuana in the 2014 election, but that issue didn't appear to translate into any major mobilization of voters. Whether that's because the pro-medical marijuana candidates didn't push the issue hard enough or because there is no broad support for the issue is an open question.

*Correction 16:23 CST: Melissa Mentele makes very clear below that she is not at all affiliated with SDAP. My original wording did not indicate her affiliation but failed to credit her group as working on a bill in search of a sponsor. I regret the error.