“More stoned people will not lead to a better state," Norman Woods, of Family Heritage Alliance, says of the Marijuana Legislation Initiative.
A "yes" vote on the referendum, also known as Measure 27, also known as the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, would allow people 21 and over to use and grow a certain amount of marijuana for personal use.
This is not the first time South Dakotans have voted on recreational marijuana. A related measure was approved in 2020 but was later overturned by the South Dakota Supreme Court. In that legal fight, a circuit judge ruled Amendment A was unconstitutional because it revised the state constitution rather than amended it.
After witnessing that defeat, the group South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws launched a signature campaign to get the new legalization initiative for this November. The group insists the new measure is simple and easily understood, and will withstand a court challenge.
Woods says Family Heritage, based in Rapid City, is fighting this hard.
"We really don't need commercialized, full-on recreational marijuana,” he insists, “here in South Dakota.”
A poll from July shows this year's effort could fail. In that survey, 54.4% of respondents opposed legalization compared to 43.8% that support that idea. The poll surveyed 500 voters.