Backers Of Legalized Recreational Marijuana In SD Turn In 29,000 Signatures For Ballot Initiative


      Backers of legalizing recreational marijuana in South Dakota have submitted petitions to get the issue on the November ballot. 

      South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws says they turned in about 29,000 signatures – over 150% of the 17,508 valid signatures needed to make the ballot. Secretary of State Monae Johnson has until August 13 to validate the signatures. 

      South Dakota voters approved a constitutional amendment legalizing recreational and medicinal marijuana in 2020, but the state Supreme Court struck it down for violating the single-subject requirement for constitutional amendments 

       A recreational pot measure was defeated two years ago, but current Campaign Director Matthew Schweich sees better chances this year because the presidential election is likely to bring out more voters. 

      Schweich says there are several reasons to support the measure, including allowing law enforcement resources to be directed elsewhere and the chance to general new tax revenue and new jobs.

      Still, at least for him, the strongest reason to legalize recreational use is that alcohol is legal even though it’s more harmful to the individual and to society than cannabis..

       It still faces strong opposition led by Governor Kristi Noem, who initiated the court challenge that threw out the 2020 initiative results. 

      Noem and other opponents are that legalization would swing the door wide open for higher crime rates, increased suicide rates, more traffic fatalities, a jump in workplace injuries, and more mental health problems.”

      The ballot initiative legalizes recreational marijuana for people 21 and older with possession limits of 2 ounces in a form other than concentrated cannabis or cannabis products.

      The possession limit for concentrated cannabis would be 16 grams with up to 1,600 milligrams of THC in cannabis products. It also allows limited cultivation of plants