South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley last week released a draft ballot explanation for a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis in the state. The proposal would allow adults 21-and-older to “possess, grow, sell, ingest, and distribute” cannabis and related paraphernalia.
Under the measure, adults could possess up to two ounces of flower and cultivate six plants, with a maximum of 12 plants per household. The document explains that, under the proposal, driving under the influence of cannabis would remain illegal, cannabis possession and use would be restricted at schools and “where tobacco is prohibited,” employers could restrict cannabis use by employees, and property owners could regulate cannabis use.
The statement explains that the proposal would affect neither state hemp nor medical cannabis laws in the state and that “judicial or legislative clarification of this measure may be necessary.”
The measure requires 17,509 signatures to appear on the 2024 ballot. Public comments on the proposal will be accepted until August 21. The final explanation is due to the secretary of state by August 31.
During the 2022 midterm elections, South Dakota voters rejected a similar proposal 53% to 47%. It marked the second time voters in the state voted down the reforms, rejecting a legalization ballot question in 2018.
A poll by the School of American and Global Studies at South Dakota State University released in April found voters were split on the reforms with 30% of respondents saying they “strongly” supported broad cannabis legalization, while 19% “somewhat” backed adult-use legalization. Another 30% “strongly” opposed the reforms, with 11% “somewhat” opposed, while just 10% had no opinion.
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