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South Dakota Residents Will Vote On Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

News – High Times

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakotans will vote this year on whether to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 years and older.

Secretary
of State Steve Barnett said Monday his office has validated a proposed
constitutional amendment that would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and
older and require the state Legislature to enact a hemp cultivation
law.

Barnett said his office found the petition had enough valid
signatures to put the proposal on the Nov. 3 ballot. A constitutional
amendment requires 33,921 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

The
measure would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana as well as require
the Legislature to pass laws on hemp. South Dakota lawmakers passed a
bill in 2019 to legalize industrial hemp, but Republican Gov. Kristi
Noem vetoed it. Noem has promised another veto if lawmakers pass a hemp
bill in 2020, saying law enforcement can’t differentiate between hemp
and marijuana. Hemp is related to cannabis but does not contain enough
THC to make someone high.

Citizens can still challenge the ballot
validation, Barnett said. The deadline to file a challenge is 5 p.m.
Central time Feb. 5.

South Dakota voters in November also will decide a measure to allow medical marijuana for patients with serious health conditions. The measure would allow patients with chronic or debilitating health conditions to use and possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana. They would need to get a registration card from the state’s Department of Health.

Matthew
Schweich, deputy director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said South
Dakota will become the first state to vote on both medical marijuana and
adult-use legalization initiatives on the same ballot.

Schweich
said the recreational marijuana proposal “will greatly benefit the
people of South Dakota by ending the injustice of arresting otherwise
law-abiding adults for marijuana offenses” as well as allow law
enforcement to focus on fighting serious crime, generate new tax revenue
for the state and create jobs.

Eleven states have legalized marijuana for adults. Another 22 states have enacted medical marijuana laws.

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