Strong Majority of South Dakota Voters Support Initiative to Legalize Marijuana, Even More Support Medical Marijuana
According to newly-released polling, South Dakota voters are keen to make their state the 12th in the U.S. to legalize marijuana for recreational use for those 21 and older.
The survey, which was conducted by South Dakota-based marketing firm Lawrence and Schiller and conservative pollster Public Opinion Strategies on behalf of a group opposed to legalization, found that about 60% of voters intend to vote for Constitutional Amendment A, a proposal to allow adults aged 21 and over to use marijuana. This was first reported on by High Times.
Making things a bit complicated, Constitutional Amendment A is not the only marijuana initiative South Dakota’s ballot this November: They will also be considering Measure 26m which would legalize medical marijuana in the state. The poll was organized by the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry on behalf of the group “No Way On A.”
“Going back to the numbers, we know that a significant portion of that majority for (legalized recreational marijuana use) thinks it’s related to medical,” Chamber President David Owen told the Argus Leader newspaper. The poll found that Initiated Measure 26 enjoys even wider support in South Dakota, with 70%of voters saying they support the proposal.
The Argus Leader noted that “advocates and those leading the effort to loosen South Dakota’s marijuana laws say that passing both Constitutional Amendment A and Initiated Measure 26 at the same time is the only way to ensure the Legislature doesn’t tinker with the measures if adopted by voters in November,” because while initiated measures can be tweaked and changed by lawmakers, amendments require a subsequent vote at the ballot to undergo any changes.
“Advocates supporting both the amendment and initiated measure submitted petitions to get the proposals on the 2020 ballot in South Dakota late last year”, notes High Times. “In November, South Dakota Secretary of State Steve Barnett announced that the medical cannabis measure had qualified for the ballot. In January, Barnett certified the signatures for the recreational marijuana proposal.”
In 2006, South Dakota voters narrowly rejected a measure that would have legalized medical cannabis, 53% to 47%: But times have changed drastically since then, and nationwide support for legalization has increased double-digits.
“The margin grew even wider four years later, when another medical marijuana proposal appeared on South Dakota’s ballot, only for it to be soundly rejected, 63 percent to 36 percent. More than 30 other states, including North Dakota, have legalized medical marijuana. ”
Under current South Dakota law, the possession of any amount of marijuana is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail.