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South Dakota Marijuana Legalization Advocates Submit Signatures

The quantity of signatures submitted is likely enough to put weed legalization on the November general election ballot.

Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call

Advocates for legalizing marijuana in South Dakota on May 4 submitted thousands of signatures to the Secretary of State’s office. The quantity of signatures is enough to likely put weed legalization on the November general election ballot.

South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws turned in about 25,000 signatures, about 19,250 of which they say they personally verified. That puts them well over the 16,691 verified signatures needed to get legalization on the ballot, reports Black Hills FOX.

“We are confident we are going to qualify. But of course we have to let the process play out with the Secretary of State’s office,” said campaign director Matthew Schweich. “We look forward to being on the ballot in November regardless.”

“Simpler And Bulletproof”

Schweich said the question is different from Amendment A, a legalization question approved by South Dakota voters in November 2020. That vote of the people was nullified in the courts on constitutional grounds after GOP Governor Kristi Noem intervened.

“This initiative is shorter and simpler and bulletproof against any type of lawsuit, such as the one we saw against Amendment A,” Schweich said. “Now, it is a statutory initiative so we will need to work hard to defend it. But there are key differences between these two initiatives. If you believe that legalizing cannabis is a smart public policy decision for the state and if you believe in upholding the initiative process and respecting the will of the people, then I hope you vote yes on this in November.”

The ballot question legalizes marijuana and sets up a regulatory framework for weed sales, reports South Dakota Public Broadcasting.

Secretary Of State Will Run Random Sample

The South Dakota Secretary of State will use a random sample of the signatures to determine if enough were valid.

Voters also approved medical marijuana in 2020. South Dakota recently began issuing medical cards and cultivator licenses.

Now, legalization advocates say that they’ll now turn their focus to Amendment C on the June primary ballot, for fear that it could be used against them in the future.

“The last thing we need is another rule weaponized by politicians and taken to courts that will result in deeply unjust rulings like we saw with Amendment A,” said Schweich. “That is my biggest concern with Amendment C; I think it is ripe for litigation and abuse.”

The general election will take place on November 8th.

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