I want to ask a question: Why does South Dakota hate money?

I like money. I like to discover ways of making more of it. That’s kinda how our modern world runs. More money is better. 

DO IT: How to Register to Vote in South Dakota

Recreational Use Of Marijuana Becomes Legal In Nevada
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 01: A customer pays for cannabis products at Essence Vegas Cannabis Dispensary after the start of recreational marijuana sales began on July 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

You can do more with more money. A state government is better able to function and provide services for its citizens when there’s more money.

So when our elected representatives in Pierre do things to actively pass up making money, it makes me wonder if they hate it. 

Otherwise, our state would be jumping into the growth industry that is legal marijuana. Growing, processing, and selling; South Dakota could be a leader.

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Colorado has been beta-testing this idea since 2014. And they report that it's a good idea. A billion-dollar good idea.

Colorado has collected over $1 billion in tax revenue since ending prohibition in 2014. That's a billion dollars in tax revenue that the state didn’t have to raise from property taxes, income taxes, or gas taxes. 

MORE: 10 Years of Legal Pot: 12 Frequently Asked Questions About Colorado's Weed Laws

That's a billion dollars that could go towards making South Dakota schools the envy of the country. Giving South Dakota another competitive advantage. Low taxes and poorly run schools don't encourage growth. Well-funded schools and a strong social net do.

A billion dollars to make our civil infrastructure the gold standard that industry wants to come and take advantage of. 

A billion dollars to help keep and attract the best and brightest to South Dakota.

Recreational Use Of Marijuana Becomes Legal In Nevada
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 01: Customers buy cannabis products at Essence Vegas Cannabis Dispensary after the start of recreational marijuana sales began on July 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Why does South Dakota hate money? 

It's time for the South Dakota government to stop treating us like children. The legislature needs to fulfill the will of the people and craft simple, straightforward legislation that removes criminal penalties for possession, usage, and sale of cannabis. Stop letting the writing myths of Dragnet influence our government.

The only path forward is full legalization paired with a licensed vendor system like we have for cigarettes, alcohol, and gambling. South Dakota already has a framework.

We must stop pretending that this is hard and get out of the way of entrepreneurs.

If you hate the idea of legal marijuana because you’re still mad at the hippies (and I don’t blame ya), or you are afraid of Jazz music, or for whatever reason. GOOD NEWS! You don't have to like it, you are free to not participate.

Isn’t that great? You get to mind your own business AND you get to benefit from the tax revenue.

I do not see the appeal of gambling, in any form. I just don’t have that thing that makes it fun for me. No judgments, if you enjoy it good for you, have fun. But my personal preferences are not something to base legislation on.

I live my life in South Dakota and never have to interact with gambling or casinos in any way if I don’t want to. But I do get the benefit of the revenue raised. The same with alcohol and driving a four-wheeler in town. I mind my own business, people live their lives, and our state raises revenue.

Legalization will happen, nationally and by South Dakota’s neighbors. I’d like to think that our elected representatives want to avoid creating another reason for people to spend their money in Minnesota.

Obama Admin. Unveils New Policy Easing Medical Marijuana Prosecutions
Getty Images

MORE: South Dakota Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2024)

And while I do not believe cannabis to be some miracle medicinal cure-all. There is early evidence for possible medical applications.

Why let Denver, Minneapolis, or Austin get that infusion of medical research investment when Sioux Falls is already a growing medical hub?

We are ready to take advantage of a grown-up cannabis policy. 

And finally, let’s accept reality. Cannabis usage is already happening. All over, in every town, city, and village in South Dakota.

By people you know. People that wear suits and people that wear work boots. By people who drive Hondas and people who drive F150s.

It's been happening for a century and will continue for the next. 

It’s time to end this prohibition, time to treat our adults like adults and make that money for South Dakota.

But what do I know, I’m just Some Guy on the Internet.

CONTACT: How to Let Our South Dakota Representatives Know What We Think

Before I go, here is a quick review:

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Results Townsquare Media, its staff, contributors, affiliates, or advertisers.

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