South Dakota Adult-Use Ballot Initiative Approved, Giving Voters Third Chance

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An initiative to approve adult-use cannabis will appear on the ballot in South Dakota. Is the third time the charm? South Dakota voters will have a third chance to approve a ballot initiative to legalize adult-use cannabis, this time, Initiated Measure 29, which will appear on the 2024 general election ballot on Nov. 5.

On Monday, Secretary of State Monae Johnson’s office validated a measure that will appear on the November general election ballot. The campaign collected 22,558 valid signatures, which is about 5,000 more than is required for ballot placement. 

“Secretary of State Monae L. Johnson announces that a petition submitted for an initiated measure was validated and filed by her office today,” a June 3 press release reads. “This ballot question would legalize the recreational use, possession, and distribution of marijuana. The title for the ballot question will be Initiated Measure 29.”

It will be the third time South Dakota voters have weighed in on the question to approve cannabis for adult use. The Associated Press reports that in 2020, voters passed a measure, Amendment A, to legalize adult-use cannabis. South Dakota’s voters approved an adult-use ballot initiative in November 2020 by a solid 54% margin, However, the referendum was reversed by litigation. The measure  was ultimately struck down in court. 

Voters tried once again, two years ago. The campaign’s second initiative in 2022 was rejected by voters by 52%. (A medical cannabis initiative that was also approved by voters in 2020 was not challenged.)

State leaders have stood in the way of cannabis reform, giving the agenda to legalize a fight. The push to strike down the amendment passed by voters in November was spearheaded by Gov. Kristi Noem. “South Dakota is a place where the rule of law and our Constitution matter, and that’s what today’s decision is about,” Noem said in a statement. “ …

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Author: Benjamin M. Adams / High Times

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