Recreational Pot Petition Cleared For Signature Gathering

      South Dakota Secretary of State Steve Barnett on Tuesday approved a ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana. That means supporters can start circulating petitions and they plan to begin right away because they don’t have much time.

     The deadline to qualify for next year’s general election ballot is less than a month away and the group leading the effort, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, has less to collect nearly 17,000 signatures from registered voters to make the ballot. 

       Voters last year approved a constitutional amendment legalizing cultivation and possession of cannabis for both recreational and medicinal use, but a judge earlier this year ruled it violated an earlier initiative that limits ballot measures to a single subject

     The judge also ruled the measure revises rather than amends the state Constitution and needed to be proposed by a constitutional convention. 

      The state Supreme Court heard arguments in the case on April 27, but has yet to issue its ruling – which keeps the measure from taking effect. A second initiative legalizing medical pot also passed and has become law.