Poll: South Dakota Voters Split on Cannabis Legalization

A recent South Dakota poll found that voters are open to legalizing cannabis despite having rejected adult-use reforms last year.

Full story after the jump.

A new poll released Monday by the School of American and Global Studies at South Dakota State University suggests that South Dakota voters are open to legalizing cannabis for adult use despite rejecting the reforms last year.  

In 2020, voters had approved the reforms 54%-46% but the measure was voided on procedural grounds by the state Supreme Court. Two years later, a similar measure was rejected by voters 53%-47%. 

The poll found 30% of respondents “strongly” supported the reforms while 19% “somewhat” backed adult-use legalization – 49% total. Another 30% “strongly” opposed the reforms, with 11% “somewhat” opposed – 41% total – while just 10% had no opinion. 

“While South Dakota does trail behind other states in the level of support for legalization, it is following the national trend. We quite literally would not be having the same conversation 20 years ago because of the staunch opposition. Should this issue appear yet again on the ballot, its passage is very much within the realm of possibility.” — David Wiltse PhD and Filip Viskupič PhD, ‘The Political Fight Over Recreational Marijuana is Far from Over’ 

The majority – 52% – of Republicans polled were strongly opposed, while 11% were somewhat opposed. Just 11% of Republicans strongly supported adult-use legalization, with 12% somewhat in support and 13% had no opinion. Among Democrats, 42% were strong supporters, while 28% somewhat backed adult-use cannabis legalization. Just 1 in 10 Democrats remained strongly opposed, 12% somewhat opposed and 8% with no opinion.     

The poll included 747 registered South Dakota voters.  

Late last year, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, the group behind both previous ballot initiatives, indicated they may try for a third time to put the issue to voters in 2024.  

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