South Dakota voters get a second chance to push legal cannabis next month

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After failing two years ago, voters can try to legalize cannabis in November

In 2020 South Dakota saw a majority of its voters give the go-ahead to legalize recreational marijuana through a ballot measure. While many were happy with the outcome, the happiness was dampened after a lawsuit was filed last year that closed the state’s path to joining the nearly 19 other states that have given away adult-use sales. Many didn’t sit idly by and did what it took to get a second chance in the next month’s election.

While 2021 was a disappointing year for proponents of the measure, they didn’t see standing by and watching the floor as an option. So, after making new efforts, they have been able to bring the proposal to the ballot box this November, hoping to make it clear to the naysayers that the general public wants change.

These efforts have been spearheaded by Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the advocacy group Marijuana Policy Project. He told ABC News, “The fact that a law that was approved by 54% was repealed by a lawsuit is something the people have not ignored.”

Recent polls show that the outcome of the ballot initiative could be quite close this year. On the other hand, policy experts say that if the measure passes, it will have a major impact on future national cannabis laws, as it would be one more state to join the growing list of jurisdictions where adult-use marijuana is legal.

The measure that was passed two years ago was blocked in 2021 after a lawsuit filed by two highway patrol officers on behalf of Gov. Kristi Noem. According to a decision late last year by the South Dakota Supreme Court, the measure could not be signed into law because it violated the state’s requirement that constitutional amendments address a single subject.