South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem Fights Voters and Lawmakers Who Want To End the War on Weed

After getting a ballot initiative voided, she says she’ll also resist legislators attempting to legalize marijuana.


After turning to the courts to stop voters from legalizing recreational marijuana in South Dakota, Gov. Kristi Noem says she'll also veto attempts by lawmakers to give voters what they've demanded.

Noem said on Thursday at a news conference that she would "not be inclined" to sign a bill legalizing marijuana if sent to her desk by state legislators. Her declaration comes just days after a judge, as part of a legal challenge Noem supported and helped fund, ruled that a ballot initiative approved by 54 percent of voters was unconstitutional and subsequently voided it.

So, to be clear, Noem will listen to neither the lawmakers of South Dakota, who have the responsibility and authority to craft the law, nor the actual citizens of South Dakota, who voted in favor of legalization. According to the Associated Press, she's even trying to force delays in the implementation of a medical marijuana program, which was approved in a separate November vote and has not been struck down. Medical marijuana is supposed to launch in July, but she's trying to get lawmakers to delay it until next year.

What petty, undemocratic, uncharitable behavior from a woman who wants to call herself a supporter of liberty. In interviews with Fox News about her resistance to adopting harsh mandates in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19, she seemed willing to acknowledge that there should be limits to her authority:

What is the precedent that that is setting up into the future? And I was well aware of that throughout this last year while I was making decisions, that I knew what my authority was, and I didn't want to step over it, and I trusted my people. And overwhelmingly, they appreciated that. They appreciated the ability to get through this in a way that works for them, their businesses, and our state that really was an example to the nation.

And what sort of example is she setting to the people in her state when she uses every ounce of her authority to stop a ballot initiative that they supported?

What's remarkable about her stubbornness here is, the A.P. reports, that Republican lawmakers in the state are showing voters the respect that she, a fellow Republican, is not. They've been working on trying to hammer out regulations for marijuana legalization, not because they're big fans of the drug, but because the voters have made their wishes clear.

"I didn't vote for recreational marijuana, but my constituents did," state Rep. Greg Jamison (R–Sioux Falls) told the A.P. "Rarely do we get a chance to enact a law and not for sure know what our constituents think of that. Here we know."

He and other lawmakers may have to craft a law that gets enough votes (two-thirds in both the House and Senate) to overrule Noem's threatened veto.

Below, Reason's Nick Gillespie appeared on Kennedy earlier this week to critique Noem's opposition to liberty when it comes to marijuana:

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  1. hard to see the political advantage here. maybe she's a true believer in stopping the demon rum. or whatever.

    1. Yeah, not sure how she thinks this is a winning battle. 30+ states already with legal weed. Feds declassifying soon. Loved her position on COVID non-sense, but she's dead wrong here. Both from a Libertarian position, conservative position and political position.

      1. I think she is gambling that while the voters may want this, they won't make it an election issue.

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        2. It's delaying my dream of becoming a South Dakota voter, I'll tell you that.

        3. But so? Even if there is a possibility that this might not hurt her, how will it help her?

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      2. I don't think conservatives have fully gotten on board yet. I know in the last national poll a bare majority of Republicans supported legalization, but I'm assuming that probably includes: moderates, conservatives, libertarians, etc.

        I doubt she'll lose any support over this. Activists in the state should just place legalization back on the ballot without a regulatory scheme attached. If it passes, we can then watch as Noem complains about the "lack of regulations."

        1. I don’t think conservatives have fully gotten on board yet.

          Yeah we aren't. I'm a christian, conservative. Not pro-pot. Pro-sitting on your couch baking out wasting your life in a euphoric stupor while the world goes to shit. Not a big pot fan. Not a "recreational" drug kind of guy. It's not supported religiously. My friends (who are Buddhist) also don't support it. Pot is for losers. Literally losers. And for some people, it helps with seizures or pain, or other medical conditions. The idea of my son growing up, smoking pot on the couch, wasting his life away is horrifying. So yeah - no we aren't. The only reason conservatives vote for it, is for sympathy's sake. It is not "just" for a ignorant or low IQ pot smoker to go to prison for 5 for 10 years for minor possession and consumption. Just because we want to remove the severity of the penalties, doesn't mean we want to promote it - or even support it. Because most of us don't.

          1. You are missing the point.
            You think pot is for losers. Maybe you are right.
            Your neighbor thinks pot improves his life. Maybe he is wrong.
            But here is my question: are you going to send your neighbor TO PRISON because he disagrees with how best to live his life?

            1. Drugs are bad m-Kay

              Well except for when good Christians are sending their 14 year olds up for communion. Then drugs are part of a magic cannibalistic ritual that flushes all the bad out of you like a celebrity detox.

              I swear social conservatives are just as bad or worse than progressives.

              1. Not as bad, because they don’t have nearly as much power currently, and they don’t have as many reasons to control others lives.

          2. I think typing in red is for losers.

            1. Maybe it's the Red-Green Deficiency on the part of my eyes, but Bereft-the-left3's writing looks pink to me.

          3. Conservatives should work to provide small government pro-liberty alternatives to the Legalization initiatives currently being provided by the Pro-Legalization Activists. So far it seems conservatives who oppose marijuana are being caught off guard when the voters in their states vote for legalization.

            If Governor Noem had worked to remove criminal penalties for possession and use by adults she may have been successful in undermining the legalization movement in her state. Now she's starting a political fight that she may or may not win in the end.

            1. What could be more small government and pro-liberty than legalization, (and no pot taxes, of course?)

    2. Yeah, it sounds like a bad move on her part. But am I the only one that finds it odd to hear so much about one of those irrelevant flyover states has more cows than people?

      1. Gotta sabotage her campaign. Nikki Haley is the preferred center-right candidate.

        1. Not sure this will sabotage her campaign in a Republican Primary. Isn't Haley against legalization too?

          1. Yeah but Haley is NeverTrump, pro-amnesty, and for centrally planned multilateral trade policies. Reason will mildly criticize her over foreign policy because Haley is a rabid neocon warmonger.

    3. The political advantage is that there are a LOT of Republicans (and Democrats) against any sort of pot legalization. It is indeed the Demon Rum. I recall my own mother who was eager to support Ron Paul drop him like a hot potato when she learned that he favored pot legalization.

      The 54% who voted in favor does not mean 54% of Republicans, and certainly does not mean 54% of those who contributed to her campaign, and certainly does not mean 54% of the states' Republican Leadership. She's playing to her base, plain and simple. That she still need a majority of voters to reelect her just means she's True Red partisan and doesn't give a shit about the voter.

    4. This is simple to overcome. The legislators draft a bill and propose the legislation. They send it to the governor's desk and the second she vetoes the measure, the legislators DO THEIR JOB and override the veto. Pure and simple.

    5. Wee art education does nothing illuminate her position. That would have been nice, but I’m not surprised. Reason’s writing quality is not what it used to be.

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  2. The only thing I can think of is she must be indebted to the law enforcement lobby. Legal weed basically kills their free pass to go snooping in cars since they can't play the old "I smelled marijuana card."

    1. Pennington County has had a serious spike in felony arrests in the last few months, and a lot of that is driven by meth. I doubt even LEO's would argue that legal weed would make that problem any worse.

    2. Don't forget the cash also. Legalized marijuana puts a huge hole in the police ability to engage in CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE. Look at all the revenue police departments and sheriff's departments that would lose that coveted free loot!

      1. The irony is that those cannabis related jobs from legal production and sales contribute far more to the tax base than anything the government could steal.

  3. Noem should follow Governor Gavin Newsom's lead and shut down every small business that does not sell weed or liquor.

  4. Kristi Noem is a half-educated, superstitious, bigoted, authoritarian yokel, part of the reason her state is embedded in America's can't-keep-up backwaters.

    These clingers can't die off fast enough.

    1. I know right, the state that brought us George McGovern is the absolute backwater of America.

    2. You mean the backwaters that are kicking your ass on getting their residents vaccinated?

      These clingers can’t die off fast enough.

      Same with you and your family, hicklib.

    3. Pretty sure the state’s location was determined a long time ago.

    4. You being retarded is not a mutually exclusive reality.

    5. With all her deficits she is a million times better the best progressive democrat.

    6. Aw, c'mon, Rev! Surely you wouldn't kick her out of your elite multi-thousand thread-count sheet-covered bed for eating Scooby-Snacks Graham Crackers, would you?

      By the way, I've seen the real Arthur L. Kirkland played by Al Pacino in the movie And Justice for All. I watched every bit of his intense acting, including his famous line: "You're out of order! You're out of order! This whole trial is out of order!!"

      You, Sir, are no Arthur L. Kirkland.

  5. Poor girl. She must have grown up in one of those far right Christian families that believe marijuana has something to do with the devil. But she's still fine af.

    1. There is no commandment against pot in the Bible. Only a condemnation against drunkenness. Which could be construed as a general condemnation against mind altering substances.

      But if alcohol is legal, why not marijuana? It's up the Christians to use marijuana in moderation the same way they use alcohol in moderation. No getting drunk and no getting stoned off their gourd. But a bit of a buzz or mellow is fine.

      1. But if alcohol is legal, why not marijuana?

        You do realize that Prohibition was spearheaded largely by religious organizations, right?

        1. On that note, everyone should stop reading Epoch Times, because its Falun Gong backers want to ban alcohol in China and probably everywhere else.

          1. That, and it contains a bunch of made up bull shit.

            1. fuckers make you pay too. fuck that.

        2. Progressive religious organizations dominated by white women.
          Prohibition was woke.

        3. And spearheaded by women's groups as well.

          1. The first instance of intersectional politics.

      2. You asked an interesting question. Let me follow-up with another. What role do providers of alcohol play in the suppress of the legalization of marijuana and other drugs? Do bar owners, brewers and distillers want to suppress the competition?

        I have no answer for this, but I know in my state, Wisconsin, the Tavern League is politically powerful and the Republican will have nothing to do with legalizing marijuana. I often wonder if there is a connection?

  6. Not to worry. Biden gonna legalize everywhere as soon as he's convinced MJ isn't a gateway drug.

    1. It will be a tough call since he was a star in Reefer Madness.

  7. She's doing better than any democrat.

  8. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” ― C. S. Lewis

  9. Typically big government conservative.

  10. Pity. So much for an unsullied heroine.

  11. This is pretty much her job, to act as she believes she should in regards to an issue.

    How people VOTED is not particularly relevant, at least not directly.

    It's why we're a REPUBLIC and not a DEMOCRACY.

    Funny how people, even people such as those @ Reason, can't seem to remember this.

    I don't like that imbecile Newsome, either, but until the people of Cali either recall his useless ass, or start overriding him, or elect someone else, he's the one making these kinds of decisions.

    1. And reasons job is to criticize her when those beliefs are retarded. So what is your position exactly? That when the woman shows herself to be an authoritarian moron people should just nod approvingly?

    2. How the *legislature* votes is relevant, unless their state constitution has an explicit "no weed" clause. And she's saying that she'll fight them too.

    3. “This is pretty much her job, to act as she believes she should in regards to an issue.”

      Okay, well, I think she’s wrong, and she’s being a totalitarian douchebag on this issue.

  12. All I will observe here is we were a nice purpleish Red state, and since we legalized MJ, it's gone to total Blue Hell with all the Commiefornians moving here, all the homeless. My home is ruined from these subhuman debris. I'm probably going to have to leave. Stupid laws done by stupid lawmakers elected by stupid newcomers who don't know anything about Colorado except Denver-Boulder Metro. Who whine "it wasn't like this in San Jose".

    1. Well no, it very rarely snows in San Jose.

  13. This is like the one policy Leftists have right, come on lady!

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