Taxpayers foot the bill for Noem’s cannabis ads



PIERRE, SD (KELO) – The recent medical cannabis commercials featuring Governor Kristi Noem were aired at taxpayer expense.

They were the result of two additions to a one-year South Dakota Department of Health contract that began June 1 and was originally for a marketing campaign to prevent opioid abuse and misuse. .

The original contract, with Imagine Agency of Rapid City, for opioid work was $ 375,000. Funding for the opioid work came from a federal grant.

The first amendment covering medical cannabis arrived on July 20, 2021, bringing the total contract to $ 555,000. The second rider, also for medical cannabis, was dated September 23, 2021. It brought the total contract to $ 697,500.

The additional amounts for medical cannabis were $ 322,500 and came from general state funds.

The governor’s one-minute ad, done in the style of a public service announcement, ran from June through September, a spokesperson for the Department of Health said.

Daniel Bucheli told KELOLAND News that the medical cannabis work also included social media posts and follow-up over the same period.

He said the source of funding for medical cannabis advertisements was Senate Bill 35, which the legislature approved last winter.

The registered version of the legislation earmarked a lump sum of $ 4,161,502 for the implementation of the provisions of Constitutional Amendment A, which legalized marijuana for persons 21 years of age and over, and for the measure initiated 26, which legalized the medical use of cannabis, but provided no details.

Noem last fall opposed both proposed medical cannabis laws and Constitutional Amendment A. Voters approved medical cannabis at 70-30% and Amendment A at 54-46%.

After the November vote, Noem challenged the validity of Amendment A. She got approval from state circuit judge Christina Klinger, whom Noem appointed to the bench in 2019. Amendment A remains on hold while the South Dakota Supreme Court considers the appeal.

You can still see the Noem announcement on the department’s medical cannabis program website.

“One of my tasks as governor is to ensure that the will of the people and all constitutional laws are implemented,” she said in the announcement. “The medical cannabis program is on schedule. And we are working to implement a responsible agenda that follows the direction given by voters.

The department is to begin issuing medical cannabis cards no later than November 18.


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