Advocates in South Dakota have, for the second time in as many election cycles, turned in signatures to the Secretary of State’s office to force a vote on cannabis legalization, the Argus Leader reports. The signatures still need to be certified by the Secretary of State but the campaign, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, indicated an in-house screening process showed they had enough valid signatures to put the issue to voters in November.
In 2020, South Dakota voters legalized both adult-use and medical cannabis but a judge ultimately ruled the amendment invalid finding the reforms violated a 2018 law prohibiting constitutional amendment initiatives from dealing with multiple issues. The medical cannabis reforms, however, were enacted by the state.
Campaign Director Matt Schweich told the Leader that the group is “confident” their question would make the ballot but that organizers “have to respect the process and let the Secretary of State do its job.”
Instead of a constitutional amendment, advocates opted for an initiated measure that reduces the number of signatures from registered voters to qualify for the ballot. The initiative seeks to legalize cannabis for personal use, including possession and cultivation.
“This will withstand any potential lawsuits so we can avoid what happened after 2020,” Schweich told the Leader. “We don’t want to give politicians any kind of opening to thwart the will of the people.”
Schweich said the group collected 19,250 valid signatures while the initiated measure requires about 17,000.
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