Hau Mitakuyepi. It may seem like Deja vu for South Dakota voters this year as they will once again decide whether they want the State to allow recreational marijuana. My personal view of marijuana has nothing to do with whether it’s legal. I don’t and will not ever use it personally, so I will accept it either way. I am 100 percent drug, tobacco, and alcohol-free.
My stand is protecting our right to vote and the will of “WE THE PEOPLE” The people of South Dakota voted to pass the marijuana law and it was passed. The Governor didn’t like it and blocked it. So here we go again. Let’s not forget—the South Dakota State Motto is “Under God, the people rule” NOT under the Governor.
People who know me, know I do not support recreational marijuana use, and personally will not be voting to legalize it. I do support hemp and I support medical, but only with a prescription by a medical professional. I will stand neutral on this issue.
When I was living in Seattle, from 1972-92, marijuana was legal, for the most part, so it wasn’t a big deal. Most people I knew and grew up with smoked weed. Very few of us even used alcohol. I smoked weed from 1977-2010 even through the Navy from 1979-1982. Even in the military, it wasn’t a big thing, the only time I ever had a UA was when I first joined. It was never a big deal. While overseas I smoked some of the best marijuana in the world. I didn’t even really drink alcohol until the mid-90s. So, it’s not like I’m some prude old fogey that doesn’t know.
When I recommitted to Sundance in 2010 and dealt with personal speed bumps in life, I quit smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and smoking pot. All within two years, not once cheating or falling back. Once I picked up my pipe and believed in it, I walked with it, I never looked back, with no cravings, no wants. Our Wolakota stands alone. Our Pipe (Chanupa) stands alone. I believe that the use of drugs and alcohol is the single cause of 99 percent of all our troubles on and off the reservation and these poisons are killing our people, destroying our culture and clouding our spirituality. These are not our ways. The Red Road is a hard road to follow. It’s supposed to be.
With all that said, I will stand with the choice made by “We the People.” I would rather be around and deal with people who are high than those who are intoxicated. I would choose marijuana over alcohol any day. Marijuana is not addictive, habit forming, yes. Marijuana is not a gateway drug. Alcohol is. If managed properly, the legalization of marijuana could be a great financial asset to any community in many ways, both in and out of Indian country.
I will not vote for it but would acknowledge and support it on the reservation if it’s legalized statewide.
Due to South Dakota’s, current strict marijuana laws and zero tolerance policies including possession of paraphernalia, we know that every native off the reservation will become a target for law enforcement. Especially here in Racist City. They will be identified by county numbers on their license plates and profiled. Illegal searches will rise and we will see more of our people harassed by law enforcement. Custer County, Pennington County Sheriffs, and Rapid City Police, as well as the State Highway Patrol. We could add South Dakota Park Rangers to this as well. They are notorious for profiling natives leaving the reservation. For this reason, I won’t support it on the Rez.
According to research the CDC cites, marijuana is the most commonly used drug in the U.S., with some 22 million people using it in some form every month. While 65 million Americans consume alcohol a month. Yet alcohol by far is the most destructive drug to our communities and it’s legal.
I will accept the people’s vote.
(Contact James “Magaska” Swan at firstname.lastname@example.org)