South Dakota Initiative to Legalize Marijuana Advances

An initiative campaign aiming to legalize marijuana in South Dakota has cleared a bureaucratic hurdle  necessary to begin collecting signatures.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley has released a draft ballot explanation for an initiative that would make legal marijuana a constitutional right for those 21 and older. Proponents of the measure must collect 17,509 signatures from registered South Dakota voters in order to put the issue before voters in November, 2024.

Under the proposed law, the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana and the cultivation of up to six plants would be allowed for those 21+. Marijuana use would be restricted “where tobacco is prohibited”.

The initiative would have no impact on the state’s current hemp and medical marijuana laws.

The release of the draft ballot explanation opens up a public comment period that ends August 21, with the secretary of state required to issue a final explanation by August 31.

A similar measure made the 2022 ballot. Although it garnered 47% support, it failed to get the 50% plus one vote needed to be passed into law. Advocates are hoping that with a couple more years to consider the issue, and with the growing momentum for legalization nationwide, voters will be more likely in 2024 to give approval to marijuana reform.

Last month a separate initiative that was filed last month would fully repeal the state’s medical marijuana law.

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