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Secretary of state certifies recreational marijuana ballot question

Matthew Schweich, campaign director of South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, speaks Wednesday at an event to sound the alarm about thousands of signatures needed to place recreational marijuana legalization on the ballot.
Matthew Schweich, campaign director of South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, speaks at a press conference earlier this year.

South Dakota voters will weigh in on legalizing and taxing marijuana, again.

The South Dakota secretary of state has certified petition signatures for the November election.

The group South Dakotans for Better Marijuana laws says it submitted 25,023 valid signatures to place the recreational marijuana question on the November ballot. That’s 8,000 more than needed.

The measure legalizes the possession, use and distribution of marijuana for people 21 and older.

Matthew Schweich is the campaign director for South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws. He says the group is confident they can win in November.

“We’ve got to run a strong campaign. We’ve got to work hard. But I do believe that public support for cannabis legalization is increased since 2020," Schweich says. "Our goal is to win with strength and to win by a larger margin than we did with Amendment A in 2020.”

Fifty-five percent of voters approved Amendment A that year. But the vote was challenged by Governor Kristi Noem and two law enforcement officers.

The courts ruled the 2020 ballot question — which placed legalized recreational and medical marijuana into the state constitution — violated the state’s single subject rule. Meanwhile, medical marijuana became legal as part of a separate ballot measure that also passed in 2020.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.