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South Dakota recreational marijuana supporters hope third time is the charm

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(The Center Square) – South Dakota voters will get a third chance to decide if they want to legalize recreational marijuana for residents 21 years old and older.

The measure was approved for the Nov. 5 ballot by Secretary of State Monae Johnson after more than 29,000 signatures were submitted.

If approved by voters, individuals 21 years old or older could possess, grow, ingest and distribute up to two ounces of marijuana except what is found in marijuana concentrate or other products. Employers and property owners could still prohibit or restrict marijuana on their property, according to Attorney General Marty Jackley’s explanation of the ballot measure.

Johnson hired part-time staff to help with the validation process and found that 77.76% of the signatures were valid, she said in a news release.

“We will continue to fight for a more just cannabis policy and expanded personal freedom,” South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws said in a Facebook post. “One task is done, but there’s so much left to do before November 5th.”

This is the third time recreational marijuana legalization has appeared on the ballot. Fifty-three percent of South Dakota voters rejected it in 2022.

South Dakota voters approved a referendum in November 2020 legalizing marijuana. The amendment was struck down by South Dakota Supreme Court a year later. The court said the ballot question violated the single-subject rule for questions as it also mentioned medical marijuana.

The ballot question is one of four voters will answer in November.

The secretary of state’s office has also validated a question that would let voters decide whether to remove the state sales tax on food. Gov. Kristi Noem’s efforts to roll back the tax failed.

Voters will also choose to support a work requirement for able-bodied Medicaid recipients. The ballot question was added after the South Dakota Legislature passed Senate Joint Resolution 501.

The fourth ballot question would change the state’s primary election system. The measure would allow voters to decide on their top two candidates in a primary regardless of political party.

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