Out on a Limb: South Dakota’s Medical Marijuana Vote Means More than California’s Recreational Vote

Call me crazy, but in my admittedly amateur socio-political analysis, the outcome of South Dakota’s vote next Tuesday on medical marijuana means more in terms of the country’s overall commitment to a saner drug policy than California’s recreational marijuana measure.

How is it possible that what happens in a state that falls into the “other” category (population barely worth mentioning) on Wikipedia’s 2009 census estimate chart is more important than what happens in a state with 37 million people?

It’s possible because, if the measure passes, it shows that the least (populous) and most (conservative) among us is ready for change.

I remember being flabbergasted at the slimness of the margin by which this measure failed back in 2006, and did some anecdotal asking-about as to who all these radical pro-pot voters were.

The responses typically fell into two categories: Farmers, who might be interested in a new cash crop (even if just for the future hope of hemp); and Seniors, which South Dakota has an awful lot of, who might like to have access to a cheaper way to ease their pain (no Field of Dreams pun intended).

So, not really the radical lot of hippies I was expecting (though I had no idea where they might be hiding out–except perhaps in my lonely blue precinct).

As you may know, South Dakota has the distinction of being the only state in which a medical marijuana bill has gone down to defeat, and the polls show that might happen again (though I am skeptical of the KELO/Argus instrument).

In my book, that would be a shame.  While I’m not a dope-smoker, I won’t claim that I’ve never inhaled, and I think most of us are past that kind of silly obfuscation.  The point of the legislation is not to make ourselves seem “pot-friendly,” but to give the seriously ill among us a real alternative for relief–from pain and (hopefully, eventually) from the greed of Big Pharma.

And maybe to show the country that, even out in the “Great American Desert,” we’re ready to invest in progressive and proactive policy changes to stop the never-ending violence, criminalization of our youth, and financial drain of this nation’s War on Drugs.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Great post. Thank you for writing this.

  2. Posted by Joelie Hicks on October 31, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    A fellow from the area has done some great ads about this.
    My belief is that God gave us this plant for a reason, if it is misused by some, and it already is in spite of it’s illeagality, it is not the fault of the plant.

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