SD Voters Support Medical Pot, Opponents Say They're Misled On Rec Question

Sep 18, 2020

The poll, conducted by the right leaning Public Opinion Strategies, finds that over 70 percent of South Dakotans support medical marijuana. That’s according to David Owen, the chair of the No Way On Amendment A committee. They’re neutral on an initiated measure that legalizes only medical marijuana.

Owen says of those who said they’d vote to legalize recreational marijuana by voting yes on Amendment A, 26% say they’d support it because of marijuana’s medical use.

Owen says that points to confusion between the two ballot measures.

“The proponents are going to act like you need to vote for both of these,” Owen says. “We think that’s deceptive, because you don’t.”

The Constitutional Amendment A legalizes recreational marijuana for people over the age of twenty one and imposes a 15 percent sales tax. That revenue will get split between public schools and the state’s general fund. It also enshrines a medical marijuana and industrial hemp program into the constitution.

Drey Samuelson is the political director for South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws. He says he is disappointed by the release from the No Way On A campaign. He says it mischaracterizes the goal of the constitutional amendment—to ensure safe, legal access to marijuana and end what he calls the failed policy of criminalizing adults for marijuana possession.

“We should be able to disagree without questioning other people’s motives,” Samuelson says. “David Owen, and No Way On A, seems to think that South Dakotan’s cannot be trusted with their own constitution and that only politicians in Pierre are capable of deciding our laws. We consider that mindset to be elitist.”

Samuelson says the poll conducted by No Way on A shows 62 percent of South Dakotans support marijuana policy reform. Opponent Owen says that’s predicated on what he calls deception about Amendment A being about medial pot.