Court Rejects MMJ Initiated Measure, Group Vows 2018 Return

Aug 9, 2016

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A South Dakota Circuit Court judge doubled down on the Secretary of State’s denial of a medical marijuana ballot initiative.  

The Secretary of State denied a petition to place the issue of medical marijuana on the November ballot due to lack of signatures.

Aaron Eiesland is attorney for the group that collected signatures for the measure.  

He says they failed to receive proper notification that the petition failed.

“With the state having to certify to the counties on August 16 the statewide ballot, we’ve really run into a short clock," Eiesland says. "But, it’s consistently our position that we’ve laid forth that the delay and the reason that we had such a short clock is really the basis, or really the cause by the actions of the Secretary of State, and not my clients.”

The court ruled that Secretary of State Shantel Krebs did give the group proper notification.

The group backing the measure says they’re not finished with the issue.

According to the state constitution, in order for a petition to reach the ballot, it must have signatures that tally up to five percent of the last gubernatorial election.

That means New Approach South Dakota needed 13,871 signatures by registered voters in the state. Krebs says after a routine review of five percent of the submitted signatures, the group failed to have enough needed.

Eiesland, a Rapid City attorney, says it feels like Krebs applied a different standard for the measure.

“Numerous irregularities in how the secretary of state handled this petition measure, such as having a difficult time reading someone’s name on a petition,” Eiesland says. “The Secretary of State, in other initiated measures, when somebody’s challenge a signature on that basis has rejected those challenges and routinely rejects those challenges.”

Eeisland says it’s likely that the group will try and get the issue brought to the voting public again in 2018.

“It’s awful concerning that something like this is going to result in a two year delay before the voters of South Dakota get the chance to have their say on whether they want this ballot initiative passed or not,” Eiesland says.

Eiesland says there may also be a push to consider the issue during the 2017 legislative session.

Attorney General Marty Jackley says the circuit court ruling affirms the work Secretary Krebs and her office put into ensuring the integrity of the election process.