South Dakota adult-use marijuana legalization effort launches – again

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South Dakota legalization advocates will try for a third time to put adult-use marijuana on voters’ ballots.

The campaign, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, has until May 7 to collect 12,500 signatures from registered voters to qualify to appear on the 2024 presidential ballot in November, according to Sioux Falls-based TV station KELO.

South Dakota voters have approved adult-use legalization once before.

A successful 2020 ballot initiative campaign was later overturned by the state Supreme Court, thanks in part to challenges from Republican Gov. Kristi Noem.

Low turnout – and the vocal opposition from Noem and other statewide officials – were blamed for the failure of a 2022 adult-use campaign.

However, South Dakota’s 2020 election did legalize a medical marijuana market. Sales began in July 2022.

Voter turnout is generally higher in presidential election years, particularly among younger voters who polling suggests are more likely to support marijuana legalization.

One complication the South Dakota adult-use push is encountering is voter fatigue, according to campaign chairman Matthew Schweich.

Asked to sign a petition to put recreational marijuana on the ballot for a third time, he told KELO, many South Dakota voters said they’ve already signed it – although that was in 2020 or 2022.

That said, a 2023 poll suggested South Dakota voters would favor an adult-use measure in the upcoming election.