South Dakota voters leaning toward a defeat for recreational marijuana

By: - November 9, 2022 1:12 am

South Dakotans appear to have rejected recreational cannabis on an election day that saw the five states considering legalization.

As of 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 9, Initiated Measure 27 had the support of just 47% of voters. The measure would have legalized the possession, use and distribution of recreational marijuana for people 21 years and older.

Vote tallies from the state’s two largest counties had yet to fully report results in the early morning hours on Wednesday. IM 27 was winning in Minnehaha County, but the gulf between yes and no votes stood at around 20,000. The measure was winning in Minnehaha County by more than 6,000 votes. 

Arkansas and North Dakota also voted against legalizing recreational marijuana, while Maryland and Missouri will join 19 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing use. Jurisdictions with legal recreational marijuana ahead of the Nov. 8 election accounted for about 44% of the U.S. population.

This was the second time a measure to legalize recreational marijuana has appeared on South Dakota ballots. Residents passed Amendment A with 54% of the vote in 2020.

Amendment A was struck down in February 2021 as unconstitutional on the grounds that it violated the state’s single-subject rule for ballot initiatives. The case was appealed to the state supreme court, which upheld the decision in November 2021.

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Makenzie Huber
Makenzie Huber

Makenzie Huber is a lifelong South Dakotan whose work has won national and regional awards. She's spent five years as a journalist with experience reporting on workforce, development and business issues within the state.