On January 6, the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office announced that an initiative to legalize recreational marijuana had qualified for the ballot. South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws reported submitting more than 50,000 signatures in November, of which 36,707 were deemed valid. To qualify, 16,961 signatures were required.
The measure would amend the state constitution to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. It would also require the legislature to pass laws providing for the use of medical marijuana and the sale of hemp by April 1, 2022. Under the measure, a 15% tax would be imposed on marijuana sales. Individuals would be able to possess up to one ounce of marijuana.
The attorney general’s explanation stated that “judicial clarification of the amendment may be necessary.”
Last month, a separate measure to create a medical marijuana program was certified for the ballot. Initiated Measure 26, sponsored by New Approach South Dakota, would establish a medical marijuana program in South Dakota for individuals who have a debilitating medical condition (defined) as certified by a physician.
As of 2019, 11 states and Washington, D.C., had legalized the possession and personal use of marijuana for recreational purposes.
As of 2019, 33 states and Washington, D.C., had passed laws legalizing or decriminalizing medical marijuana. Additionally, 13 states had legalized the use of cannabis oil, or cannabidiol (CBD)—one of the non-psychoactive ingredients found in marijuana—for medical purposes.
Also set to appear on the 2020 ballot is a marijuana legalization amendment in New Jersey that would legalize the possession and use of marijuana for persons age 21 and older and legalize the cultivation, processing, and sale of retail marijuana. Measures concerning medical marijuana targeting the 2020 ballot have been proposed in Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, and Nebraska. Measures to legalize marijuana for recreational use have been proposed targeting the 2020 ballot in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Oklahoma.
From 1996 through 2018, a total of 74 measures have appeared on the ballot during even-numbered election years in South Dakota. Of those, 39% were approved and 61% were defeated.
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