Marijuana reform groups submit petitions for ballot initiatives

PIERRE, S.D. (DRG News) – Marijuana reform groups submitted petitions containing over 80,000 signatures to the South Dakota Secretary of State’s Office Monday, Nov. 4, hoping to qualify two separate ballot initiatives for next year’s election.

One initiative would establish a medical marijuana program for qualified patients with debilitating health conditions. The other would legalize marijuana for adults aged 21 and older and require the state legislature to enact a hemp cultivation law.

New Approach South Dakota submitted over 30,000 signatures for a statutory ballot initiative would enact a medical marijuana law for patients with debilitating medical conditions.

South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws submitted over 50,000 signatures for a constitutional ballot initiative that would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana for adults aged 21 and older and would also require the legislature to enact laws regulating the cultivation, processing and sale of hemp.

The minimum number of signatures required for ballot qualification is 16,961 for a statutory initiative and 33,921 for a constitutional initiative. Today was the deadline for submitting signatures. and the South Dakota Secretary of State will now begin verifying the validity of the signatures.

Director of New Approach South Dakota Melissa Mentele says a strong majority of South Dakotans support allowing legal, regulated and safe access to medical marijuana for patients with debilitating conditions. But, elected officials have failed to take action.

Eleven states have legalized marijuana for adults and another 22 states have enacted medical marijuana laws. South Dakota could become the first state to enact both policies on a single ballot.

Visit the South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws website for more information about the ballot initiatives, including the complete initiative texts.

Two of the leading national marijuana policy reform organizations, the Marijuana Policy Project and New Approach PAC, are supporting the South Dakota campaigns.