South Dakota became the first state in the country to legalize medical and adult-use marijuana simultaneously during Tuesday’s election.
In addition to handily passing Measure 26, which creates a medical marijuana market in the state, voters also passed Amendment A, the adult-use cannabis ballot item, with 53.5% in favor and 46.5% against.
Melissa Mentele, executive director of New Approach South Dakota, said the success of both initiatives was crucial to cover the needs of all South Dakotans.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that often affects veterans and is a qualifying condition for MMJ in many states, but the Veterans Health Administration won’t recommend medical marijuana.
“Our veterans cannot be part of a statewide MMJ registry. So having adult use allows us to serve patients that couldn’t be under a medical program,” Mentele said. “A lot of adult-use states serve our vet population more than almost anyone.”
Both ballot issues will become law July 1.
– Kate Lavin