Sunday, March 6, 2022

South Dakota Lawmaker Calls Drug User a "Whore" on House Floor

South Dakota Rep. Steve Haugaard, formerly a Speaker of the House, called a woman who he said used marijuana and methamphetamine a "wrung-out whore" during a debate about a medical cannabis bill on the state house floor on Thursday.

According to account by the West Central Tribune, Haugaard rose to debate Senate Bill 26, to redefine the definition of "practitioner" under the state's medical cannabis bill, when he asked lawmakers if he could "tell a story": 

He talked about a family welfare check Sioux Falls police performed on a young mother Haugaard's family knows. Haugaard said the woman started "self-medicating" with marijuana because of her depression.

Then, he shared another example of a family he represented as an attorney whose daughter he knew as a "little teenage girl," and has now, in her 30s, fallen into drug addiction. Haugaard said the teenager used marijuana and then turned to methamphetamine. "She was a beautiful girl in her teens and a sweet kid," said Haugaard. "She is now kind of a wrung-out whore because she has prostituted herself for drugs."

South Dakota's Republican Governor Kristi Noem's campaign team has issued a statement calling for the House Speaker to "reprimand and censure" Haugaard, who is a primary challenger in her upcoming Governor's race. 

While Haugaard's remarks are terrible and misogynistic, perhaps he was reaching to be even more horrible and counter to the South Dakota voters on marijuana legalization than his opponent Noem is. 

Noem won the "Worst Politician" award from this blog in 2020 for urging a "no" vote on a marijuana legalization measure in her state. In a video ad released by the "No Way On Amendment A" committee Noem says, “The fact is, I’ve never met someone who got smarter from smoking pot. It’s not good for our kids. And it’s not going to improve our communities. As your governor, I’m urging all South Dakotans to vote no on legalizing marijuana this November."

Noem opposed both the proposed medical-cannabis Measure 26 and Amendment A, to legalize recreational use. Nonetheless, South Dakota voters approved medical cannabis by 70-30% and Amendment A by 54-46%. 

After the vote, Noem legally challenged the validity of Amendment A, and won agreement from state Circuit Judge Christina Klinger, whom Noem appointed to the bench in 2019. The case was appealed to the state Supreme Court, which upheld the decision.

In 2021, it was revealed that medical-cannabis ads featuring Noem touting her administration's efforts to implement Measure 26 aired at taxpayer expense, as a result of amending a South Dakota Department of Health contract earmarked for a marketing campaign to prevent abuse and misuse of opioids. Which makes her, to me, kind of a you-know-what.