South Dakota voters will decide whether to legalize marijuana for medical use in 2020.
South Dakota Secretary of State Steve Barnett announced the petition submitted for medical marijuana legalization was certified to appear on the 2020 general ballot.
The question is backed by efforts from New Approach South Dakota, a cannabis advocacy group. Michelle Mentele is the director of the group. She says the state should focus on the meth epidemic and allocate resources there.
“Taking cannabis patients out of that equation and funneling that back into meth treatment and meth enforcement is what our state needs to be focused on, and not trying to put patients that are just trying to feel better in jail, or wasting our court system and law enforcement on that” Mentele says. “Three fourths of the US is medically legal and it’s time for South Dakotans to have a safer option.”
The legislative research council estimates legalizing cannabis for medical use would have an initial cost to the state of about $677,000. They expect ongoing program revenues to cover the cost of the program after that. They also anticipate it would have minimal impact on prison and jail costs.
It’s the first of two cannabis related ballot questions to get certified. The other, if passed, legalizes marijuana for recreational and medical use—as well as allows for hemp cultivation.