Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Daugaard getting religion on Colorado cannabis

South Dakota's governor is enjoying the buzz in Colorado Springs as he attends a Western Governors Association conference.

Even the Rapid City Journal took a puff using the 'p' word in the majority of its copy so i lifted the only sentence that referred to cannabis in an accepted journalistic form:
Counting all taxes, licensing and fees, marijuana has brought in some $17.9 million for the state since January.


Governor Susana Martinez is notably absent in the group photo but maybe that's New Mexico Lt. Gov. John Sanchez standing to CO Gov. Hickenlooper's left.

It would be interesting to know the results of drug tests on red state governors and their staffs after this little taxpayer-funded soiree. Nerdling Dusty Johnson works for South Dakota's embattled executive. He's been tweeting some profound stuff lately: make him pee in a cup.

The Netherlands and Uruguay are watching cannabis progress in Colorful Colorado:
Colorado made roughly $2 million in marijuana taxes in January, state revenue officials reported Monday in the world's first accounting of the recreational pot business. The tax total reported by the state Department of Revenue indicates $14.02 million worth of recreational pot was sold. The state collected roughly $2.01 million in taxes. State police chiefs have asked for more money, too. "The whole world wants to belly up to this trough," said Sen. Pat Steadman, a Denver Democrat who serves on Colorado's budget-writing Joint Budget Committee. [Kristen Wyatt, AP]


Cherished reader and contributor, Bill Dithmer, believes cannabis could bring needed revenue to tribes:
Legalizing the growing of hemp and the industries that would come as a result of that one act would make huge strides on the Pine Ridge Reservation. What we are doing is not working, hasn’t worked in the past, and history is a guarantee that it wont work in the future so why not perpetuate change now?
And:
The Pine Ridge is in the unique position to bring it's people out of poverty and at the same time give lawmakers in Pierre a bloody nose. If they legalize industrial hemp and pot at the same time their history with this state would just be a bad dream. [Bill Dithmer, comments]

Deadwood and tribal gaming are inextricably linked: would revenue from the sales of cannabis require a change in the state's constitution, too?
The notion that marijuana users are lazy and unproductive stoners is like most stereotypes fueled by ignorance. Part of the pitch used by states like Colorado in their campaigns for legalization was that it would attract the top talent and minds from across the country to come work in the state. For someone who has spent a significant amount of time in the Ivy League frat scene I can tell you first hand that some of the people occupying top positions in this country’s most profitable businesses indulged in the recreational use of pot from time to time. There are those who fear the danger of addiction and this is a concern but addiction is already present and we lack the funds to address it. I ask these same people to show me one person who has overdosed on marijuana, and to quote Tucker Max, “I will show you my stable of rainbow colored unicorns ridden by Leprechauns.” The time to legalize is now. [Brandon Ecoffey, posted at indianz]
Hey guess what the ninth most important cash crop in South Dakota is.
Seventeen states have removed the threat of jail time for the possession of modest amounts of marijuana. Many of these states, including Minnesota, made these changes as far back as the 1970’s. In fact, just yesterday, Richard Bonnie – former director of the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse and policy advisor to the Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations – submitted testimony in support of a similar proposal in Maryland. [Robert Capecchi, MPP blog]

It adds up to a quandary for the GOP: Should it embrace the unpopular position still disproportionately favored by its members and risk marginalization as a result? Or will the burgeoning conservative voices in favor of legalization win out? Simply put, do Republicans want to be on the losing side of yet another culture war? For the CPAC panel's audience, which was passionate and disproportionately young, the answer was clearly no. [Molly Ball, The Atlantic]
South Dakota's current governor shoots up federal money with relish while denying his addiction to it:
President Barack Obama on Monday encouraged a group of governors to support a plan to pay for wildfire suppression, and the proposal got a positive reception from the 10 leaders gathered for an annual summit. Obama made the pitch by telephone to governors meeting in Colorado Springs at the Western Governors Association conference. Under the plan, the federal government would budget money for fighting wildfires instead of raiding funding allocated for mitigation efforts. [Ivan Moreno, AP]

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