South Dakota Activists Plan New Cannabis Legalization Bill

Despite the failure of recreational marijuana legalization measures to gain majority voter approval in last month’s midterm elections, activists in South Dakota have already launched a new bid to legalize adult-use cannabis in 2024. planning.

South Dakota’s Group for Marijuana Law Improvement has launched a bid for new 2024 cannabis legalization by submitting a draft of a proposed ballot initiative to the state’s Legislative Research Council, according to media reports. You have taken the first official steps to The move comes after a recreational pot legalization measure known as the Initiated Major 27 failed on the ballot in his November election, winning him just over 47% of the vote cast. It will be done in less than a month.

Had the bill passed, Bill 27 would have legalized the possession and use of cannabis and marijuana paraphernalia. The voting initiative also allowed adults over the age of 21 to possess or distribute up to one ounce of marijuana. A site was allowed to grow up to three cannabis plants.

Activists who campaigned for this year’s rejected ballot proposal said low voter participation in typical midterm elections compared to midterms, including US presidential elections, was a factor in Bill 27’s defeat. I think it is possible.

“I think the only reason it was lost is because voter turnout was so low…we are eager to restore the will of the people.” Matthew Schweig saidSouth Dakotan’s Deputy Director for Better Marijuana Laws, who led the campaign to pass the 2022 cannabis legalization ballot measure.

Initiative 27’s failure comes as a similar proposal won a majority of votes just two years ago when President Joseph Biden defeated his predecessor, Donald Trump, in the polls. A 2020 ballot measure to legalize adult-use cannabis passed with 54% of the vote, but a legal challenge backed by Republican Gov. voided the bill.

Opponents of cannabis reform also preparing for 2024

Opponents of cannabis reform believe the issue of recreational marijuana legalization has already been solved by vote, despite the ballot measure being voided just two years ago. Rep. Deutsch, who also serves as treasurer for cannabis-prohibition group Protecting South Dakota Kids, opposes another proposal to legalize marijuana in the 2024 election.

“They brought it, and they brought it, and they brought it … They said the will of voters should be respected throughout the campaign,” said Deutsch. said. “Apparently, they’re not trying to respect the voters’ will, and they’re trying to take it back.”

Deutsch added that he intends to support legislation in the next parliament that would ban similar initiatives from being put to the vote in consecutive election cycles. Additionally, Protecting He plans to form a nonprofit organization of the same name and hire lobbyists to work full-time in the state capital during the 2023 legislative session to counter the efforts of cannabis reform advocates. doing.

“Last year at Pierre, the pro-marijuana lobbyists overwhelmed us, 5-1, 6-1. I didn’t count them, but they were flocking to the Capitol,” Deutsch said. “The marijuana industry spends a lot of money to hire these people, and we want to give them a little boost.”

Supporters of another attempt to legalize adult-use cannabis in South Dakota say the bill’s success could hinge on whether activists can raise the money to start an effective race in 2024. I think it’s expensive. factor in this year’s loss.

“The biggest hurdle is getting enough funding to get the campaign off the ground. “But we will go through the process and build a network of people who can donate generously to ensure a well-funded campaign.”

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