South Dakota 2022 recreational marijuana campaign kicks off

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The campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in South Dakota is officially underway – again.

According to a news release, the South Dakota secretary of state’s office on Tuesday approved a draft of a statewide ballot measure for 2022, meaning the campaign – South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws (SDBML) – can start collecting the 17,000 voter signatures it needs by Nov. 8 to get a spot in next year’s election.

South Dakota voters already approved recreational legalization in 2020 through Amendment A.

But Republican Gov. Kristi Noem has so far successfully stalled the implementation of the amendment with a lawsuit, which has yet to be ruled on despite having been heard by the state Supreme Court in April.

That situation forced marijuana advocates to return to the ballot in 2022 if they wanted to be certain adult-use cannabis is legalized in the state.

“We remain hopeful that Amendment A will be restored by the South Dakota Supreme Court,” SDBML Campaign Director Matt Schweich said in the release.

“However, the November 8 deadline for 2022 ballot qualification is quickly approaching, and we have no choice but to launch a signature drive.”

Schweich said the campaign’s backers are “very energized” and “deeply frustrated” by both Noem’s obstructionism and the lack of a high court ruling in the case so far.