South Dakota Preparing New Cannabis Initiatives In Case Its 2020 Reforms Are Overruled

The group behind South Dakota’s initiative to legalize cannabis is gearing up for another adult-use proposal while waiting for the Supreme Court to decide whether the state’s successful 2020 bid was constitutional.

Full story after the jump.

South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws (SDBML) have submitted prospective adult-use cannabis initiatives to a policy research team, according to a DGlobe report. The group was behind the November 2020 constitutional amendment that legalized adult-use cannabis in the state, but the reforms were struck down by a circuit court judge on the grounds the question covered more than one issue.

SDBML indicated they are ready to file a new ballot measure if the Supreme Court upholds the lower court decision. They submitted two constitutional amendments, which need 34,000 signatures by November, and two proposed laws, which require 17,000 signatures to make it on the 2022 ballot. The differences between the prospective initiatives lie in taxation and cultivation schemes, with one proposal including home cultivation, the report says.

Despite the options, SDBML says they will only bring one initiative to voters, but Matthew Schweich, the deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said they want to keep their “options open.”

“We’re not exerting political pressure (on the Supreme Court), we’re just starting the clock.” Schweich via Forum News Service

Melissa Mentele, executive director of New Approach South Dakota, the group behind the state’s successful 2020 medical cannabis initiative agreed, telling DGlobe that “if Amendment A is repealed, then we need to be prepared to put legalization on the ballot again.”

Although South Dakota has one of the country’s oldest initiative processes, the two cannabis initiatives that passed last year have both faced issues becoming law. The adult-use proposal was challenged by two law enforcement officers at the behest of Republican Gov. Kristi Noem and was ultimately struck down by the Circuit Court, and now awaits a judgment by the state Supreme Court.

The medical cannabis initiative, which had to make its way through the South Dakota legislature and faced delays and challenges throughout the legislative process, is now moving forward. In an about-face, Noem has embraced the state’s medical cannabis law and is promoting the system in a new PSA.

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