Two groups in South Dakota on Monday submitted petitions containing more than 80,000 signatures to the South Dakota Secretary of State to qualify for the 2020 ballot.
New Approach South Dakota (NASD) turned in more than 30,000 signatures for a statutory ballot initiative to enact a medicinal cannabis law for patients with debilitating conditions, and South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws (SDBML) submitted more than 50,000 signatures for a constitutional ballot initiative to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis for adults over the age of 21.
The SDBML initiative would also require the state legislature to create and implement laws to regulate the cultivation, processing, and sale of hemp.
The minimum number of signatures required for a statutory initiative to qualify for the ballot in South Dakota is 16,961, and constitutional initiatives need at least 33,921.
“Right now, there are South Dakotans with serious health conditions who are forced to break the law in order to access effective medical treatments that allow them to live healthier and more productive lives, and that is unacceptable,” says MPP Director Matthew Schweich. “Across the country, voters are recognizing that it makes no sense to waste law enforcement resources on arresting adults for marijuana possession, and that it also makes no sense to force marijuana sales into an unregulated illicit market.”
Schweich says that choosing to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis is the policy decision that best serves the interests of public health and safety.
If both initiatives are included on the 2020 ballot and are approved by voters, South Dakota will be the first state to legalize both medicinal and adult-use cannabis on the same ballot.
With both groups having met the November 4 deadline, the South Dakota Secretary of State will begin verifying the validity of the signatures.