South Dakota voters will again decide via ballot box whether they want marijuana legal in their state.
The South Dakota Secretary of State on Wednesday finished certifying petition signatures turned in earlier this month by South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, according to the campaign committee that’s worked for more than two years to end the Mount Rushmore State’s prohibition on cannabis.
“We are very pleased that we’ve qualified for the ballot and we are extremely thankful to everyone who signed our petitions, our volunteers, our staff and our supporters,” SDBML Director Matthew Schweich told the Argus Leader. “We look forward to being on the ballot in November and we’re confident we can win again and restore the will of the people of south Dakota.”
The ballot question will be titled Initiated Measure 27, he said.
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The Secretary of State’s Office confirmed Wednesday evening that SDBML’s had a 79.2% validation rate on a total of 31,588 signatures. The petitions they were on propose legalizing cannabis for personal use, possession and cultivation of cannabis for adults 21 and older.
Unlike a 2020 proposed constitutional amendment, known as Amendment A, that passed at the ballot box and was struck down by the South Dakota Supreme Court, Initiated Measure 27 would not establish a tax or a regulatory structure for commercial marijuana operations.
Rather, Initiated Measure 27 would leave that to the Legislature to decide.
That, coupled with a number of signatures turned in that exceeds the minimum requirement of about 17,000, gives Schweich confidence the Initiated Measure 27 is protected from being derailed by any potential lawsuits.
“One of the main reasons why we maintained such ambitious goals for our signature drive was to ensure that we had a healthy margin, so we could deter our opponents from filing a lawsuit,” he said, adding that the Secretary of State informed him that 25,000 of the signatures were verified as belong to registered South Dakota voters. “This was the plan to have this buffer and be sure there would be no more lawsuits over cannabis initiatives in South Dakota.”