Efforts Underway To Ban Alcohol And Tobacco In SD
A group is now working to make booze and tobacco illegal in South Dakota.
Two separate petitions are circulating to add the criminalization of alcohol and tobacco to the 2016 ballot. Another petition would ask voters to decriminalize marijuana.
Those backing the petitions to make tobacco and booze illegal in South Dakota say they know voters might not go for it, but they say if marijuana is illegal, alcohol and cigarettes should be too.
Bob Newland is a Black Hills photographer and past libertarian political candidate. He is also the President of the group South Dakota NORML. Newland is a long-time advocate for the repeal of marijuana laws and is a sponsor of the efforts to make tobacco and alcohol illegal in the state. Newland says the petition drives point out hypocrisy of those who are against the legalization of marijuana, but in favor of legalized tobacco and booze.
“For possession or use or sale of a harmless herb South Dakota law enforcement will steal people’s kids, cars, cash, and houses and ruin their lives,” says Newland. But, for possession or sale of two extremely deadly drugs, alcohol or tobacco if you’re an adult you can use them or sell them with impunity.”
Newland says he’s not sure if his group can gather enough signatures to put the issues on the ballot. He says he’s not really in favor of making alcohol or tobacco illegal.
“If we get this certified for the ballot, I’m almost certain we’d be cutting a deal with the legislature in order to keep it off the ballot. Because while I don’t think the public would go back to the days of alcohol prohibition, I think they might ban tobacco sales in South Dakota,” says Newland.
Newland says non-smokers now outnumber smokers in South Dakota. He notes that South Dakota voters approved efforts to ban tobacco in bars and public buildings. In his explanation of the ballot issues Attorney General Marty Jackley writes that if approved the measures would result in a loss of tax revenue and would likely be challenged in court on constitutional grounds.