South Dakota Cannabis Legalization Initiative Approved for Midterm Ballots

South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws’ campaign to get cannabis legalization on midterm ballots was successful and voters will get to decide on the issue this November.

Full story after the jump.

South Dakota voters will vote on cannabis legalization this November after the secretary of state on Wednesday said the petition submitted by South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws was valid, KEVN reports. The organization submitted more than 20,000 signatures but needed about 17,000.

Matthew Schweich, campaign director for the advocacy group, said advocates are “very pleased and excited” for the campaign ahead but warned that if a measure being voted on in the June primary – which would require two-thirds support for initiatives that would force the state to spend more than $10 million – is approved, it could work against the adult-use initiative.

”They may still file a lawsuit under Amendment C to raise the threshold to 60% and drag us back into court. That really illustrates the problem with Amendment C. It’s convoluted, it’s open-ended, and it’s ripe for abuse. This is another weapon for people to use to undermine the initiative process.” – Schweich to KEVN

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.

The lawsuit was brought at the behest of Republican Gov. Kristie Noem by Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Rick Miller and Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom.

A poll released in December conducted by Mason Dixon and sponsored by South Dakota News Watch and the University of South Dakota’s Chiesman Center found that 51.2% of South Dakotans disapproved of Noem’s response to the approval of the ballot question, with 33.4% strongly disapproving of the decision to force the issue to the state Supreme Court, and 17.8% somewhat disapproving.

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