South Dakota Voters Reject Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization

Voters in South Dakota rejected adult-use cannabis reforms on Tuesday by a 6% margin.

Full story after the jump.

South Dakota voters on Election Day rejected the proposal to legalize cannabis for adult use by a 53%-47% margin, the Argus Leader reports. It marks the second time voters in the state have rejected the reforms, voting down a similar ballot measure in 2018. 

The measure would have allowed adults 21 and older to legally possess up to an ounce of cannabis for non-medical purposes and allowed sales from state-licensed dispensaries.

In a statement to the Leader prior to the final results, Protecting South Dakota Kids Committee Chair Jim Kinyon compared the proposal to “putting lipstick on a pig.” 

“We’ve had a lot of people … say that (legalized cannabis) is going to make us wealthy, or that it’s going to make us well, and I just keep asking the same question: ‘When has the sale of any illegal drug done that?’ That’s a lot of lipstick on a pig. And the good news is, in South Dakota most of us know what a pig looks like, and we know what one smells like.” — Kinyon to the Leader 

South Dakota voters had approved the reforms in 2020 but the state Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the measure violated the state’s single-subject rule on ballot initiatives. The campaign backing the reforms, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, had said if this year’s proposal had been approved it would “restore the will of the people.” 

Voters in neighboring North Dakota also rejected their own cannabis legalization initiative.   

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