Tax and Regulate

Fwd: Together, let's legalize marijuana in South Dakota

See below for the first email from South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, the campaign working to legalize marijuana for adults and establish a medical marijuana program in the state! Click here to sign up for their campaign email alerts. And please consider donating today. This campaign is crucial to our goal of passing landmark federal marijuana reform through Congress.


Matthew Schweich
Deputy Director
Marijuana Policy Project


---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws <>
Date: Fri, Mar 13, 2020 at 3:21 PM
Subject: Together, let's legalize marijuana in South Dakota

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Hello friend,

My name is Drey Samuelson, political director for South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, and this is our first official campaign email! Although I know a fair amount of the folks on this list, I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself as one of the leaders of our historic campaign to pass two marijuana reform ballot initiatives (one for medical marijuana and the other for full legalization) in South Dakota this November.

A little about me: I spent three years as a Sioux Falls field representative for then-Congressman Tom Daschle, and then a few years later, in 1986, I ran the successful congressional campaign for then-South Dakota State Senator Tim Johnson. Following the election, Tim hired me to be his Chief of Staff. In all, I spent 28 great years on Tim’s team as we worked to deliver results for the people of South Dakota.

(Photo: H. Darr Beiser / USA Today)

Following Tim's retirement, I returned to South Dakota to co-found TakeItBack.Org, a nonpartisan nonprofit that used ballot initiatives to advance anti-corruption reforms that advocates could not pass through South Dakota’s conservative state legislature. I had learned the power of ballot initiatives earlier in my life, having served as campaign manager for an anti-corporate farm campaign in Nebraska in 1982. Despite being heavily outspent, we won. 

And that's why I'm here, working on these two initiatives. It is quite clear that getting these two initiatives through the South Dakota legislature would be virtually impossible, so advocates of sensible marijuana policy reform were left only one option: taking our case directly to the people of South Dakota. Thankfully, through a great deal of hard work and generous funding, we were able to qualify both initiatives for the general election ballot, and we're now in position to put together a campaign to pass both of them. I have no illusions that either is a slam dunk, but I have seen the polling and am convinced that if we run smart, well-executed campaigns, we'll win them both. The fact is the people of South Dakota are ready to adopt medical marijuana and full legalization. The purpose of this campaign is to effectuate the will of the people.

And that's where you come in. We are determined to run an energetic and highly-organized grassroots campaign, one that isn't top-down but bottom-up, which relies on many hundreds of volunteers across the state. 

Right now, here are a few quick ways you can help us win!

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Tax and Regulate

Winning in South Dakota will help us win at the federal level

Follow and support South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws.

This election will matter, and more than most.

It’s hard to overstate its importance in any number of areas, and that includes the struggle to end the prohibition of marijuana.

There will be marijuana reform campaigns in states across the country including South Dakota, where two initiatives to legalize medical marijuana and adult-use marijuana have qualified for the November ballot.

Here's the new logo for the South Dakota legalization campaign!


You might be wondering: South Dakota, really? After all, it’s a conservative state. But we’ve done our research, and voters are ready for marijuana policy reform.

And this campaign is important for our federal efforts: South Dakota's two United States senators, John Thune and Mike Rounds, are both in key positions to affect marijuana policy in Congress.

Neither are supporters of reforming our nation’s failed marijuana policies. They do not support removing marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, enacting the SAFE Banking Act, or even eliminating federal obstacles to medical marijuana research and access.

However, South Dakota voters can give these two senators a strong reason to reconsider their positions by approving both of the two ballot initiatives this November! Elected officials know that in order to win reelection, they cannot ignore their constituents.

South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, a political campaign supported by the Marijuana Policy Project, is ramping up its efforts and it needs your help. Please follow the campaign on Facebook, sign up for campaign alerts, and make a contribution.

Our strategy of reforming state laws in order to increase pressure on members of Congress to reform federal laws could soon pay off in a big way. We are nearly at a tipping point, and winning South Dakota is key to maintaining our momentum.

Thank you.

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Tax and Regulate

R.I.: Ask your state legislators to amend and pass Gov. Raimondo’s legalization proposal

Click here to send a letter to your state senator and representative.

Earlier this year, Gov. Gina Raimondo submitted her annual budget proposal to the General Assembly. Like last year’s, the proposed legislation includes a plan to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults’ use. You can read a summary of it here.

We’re happy to see the governor once again leading on this issue, and as we advocated last year, this year’s legislation does more to address the harms created by decades of marijuana criminalization, including the creation of a Community Equity and Reinvestment Council. However, we also have significant concerns about the proposal as currently written.

We are asking members of the General Assembly to amend the legislation in three key ways:

  • In case of a conflict with federal law, the law should establish a privately run system of retail stores as a back up to replace state-run establishments.
  • Legislators should remove the ban on people with prior drug felonies from owning and operating a marijuana business.
  • The law should allow adults to cultivate a small number of plants in their residences.

With these amendments, we believe the governor’s proposal would be greatly improved and would urge state legislators to pass it.

Will you send a letter to your state representative and senator right now asking them to advocate for these changes and the passage of marijuana legalization in Rhode Island this year?

Thank you.

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