A measure to put recreational cannabis on the 2020 ballot was officially approved in South Dakota on Jan. 6.
According to Marijuana Moment, the measure would allow adults aged 21 and over to possess and distribute up to one ounce of cannabis and cultivate three plants for personal use. A medical cannabis measure is also going to be on this year’s ballot, meaning that South Dakota voters will be given the unique opportunity to vote on legalizing both recreational and medical cannabis.
“South Dakota will become the first state in American history to vote on both medical marijuana and adult-use legalization initiatives on the same ballot,” Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project, told Marijuana Moment. “The adult-use legalization initiative will greatly benefit the people of South Dakota by ending the injustice of arresting otherwise law-abiding adults for marijuana offenses. It will focus law enforcement resources on fighting serious crime, generate new tax revenue for the state, and create jobs.”
Under this program, the South Dakota Department of Revenue would be responsible for overseeing medical cannabis and implementing a 15 percent sales tax. Advocates who got the bill on the ballot feel it was necessary to make moves at the state level instead of waiting for the federal government. “At this point, it appears increasingly unlikely that Congress will pass legislation this year to fix our nation’s broken federal marijuana laws,” Schweich said. “Therefore it is crucial that our movement win as many ballot initiative campaigns as possible this November and increase the pressure on Congress to take action. That is how we will ensure success at the federal level in 2021.”