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Draft language released for potential recreational marijuana ballot measure

By: - August 11, 2023 3:52 pm
(Carol Yepes/Getty Images)

(Carol Yepes/Getty Images)

South Dakota voters could have another chance to legalize recreational marijuana next year.

The state’s voters rejected recreational cannabis legalization in 2022, 53% to 47%.

The new petition comes from Matthew Schweich, of Sioux Falls, a longtime leader in pro-marijuana efforts. On Friday, state Attorney General Marty Jackley fulfilled his legal obligation to release a draft explanation of the potential ballot question.

Recreational marijuana is illegal, but its high-inducing cousins are widespread

Jackley’s explanation of the three-page petition says, in part, that the ballot measure would allow people 21 and older to possess, grow, sell, ingest and distribute marijuana. Individuals could posses up to 2 ounces of marijuana and up to six marijuana plants, with a limit of 12 plants per household.

Marijuana would remain off-limits for people younger than 21, and driving under the influence of marijuana would remain illegal.

Limits would be imposed on locations, such as schools, where marijuana could be used. Employers could still restrict employee use of marijuana, and property owners could also regulate it on their property.

The measure would not affect laws that have legalized hemp, or the laws that govern the state’s medical marijuana program. South Dakota voters approved medical marijuana in 2020, although there’s a potential ballot question under review that would ask voters to repeal it.

Jackley noted in his explanation that marijuana remains illegal under federal law. He did not mention that 23 states have legalized recreational cannabis.

The public has until Aug. 21 to provide written comments to the Attorney General’s Office on Jackley’s draft explanation. The final explanation is due to the secretary of state on Aug. 31.

The petition needs 17,509 signatures from registered South Dakota voters by May 7, 2024, to qualify for the Nov. 5, 2024, general election ballot.

There are numerous potential ballot issues for 2024, including questions on abortion rights, open primary elections, sales taxes on food, legislative term limits, and more.



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