Election 2022: Guide to Marijuana Legalization in South Dakota

Action Taken 27: Initiative to Legalize Cannabis in South Dakota

On May 25, South Dakota’s Secretary of State confirmed that voters will approve or reject the legalization of adult-use marijuana — but only for personal use and home cultivation — in the November 8 vote this fall.

Read the full initiative here: Measure 27 initiative

Is it legalization for medical or adult use?

The initiative primarily serves to legalize property and self-construction for adults. No regulatory or retail framework will be created for cannabis for adult use.

What is the current law?

South Dakota voters passed a 2020 initiative to legalize medical marijuana. The state’s first licensed pharmacy opened in July 2022. Cannabis remains illegal for those without a medical certificate.

South Dakota has some of the most outrageous marijuana laws in the country. For one, the state considers possession of more than two ounces of cannabis a felony.

Selling less than half an ounce of cannabis in South Dakota carries a minimum sentence of 15 days in prison. Selling between an ounce and a pound can land you in prison for five years.

South Dakota voted to legalize adult use in 2020, but Gov. Kristi Noem (R) worked with the state Supreme Court to overturn the vote on false grounds.

Related

Marijuana Laws in South Dakota

What the initiative would achieve

South Dakota’s ballot measure would allow adults to possess up to one ounce of cannabis and grow up to three plants at home. It would also allow adults to transfer small amounts of cannabis without compensation. The measure does not create a legal framework for the manufacture or sale of marijuana.

Why does this measure not allow cannabis sales?

Measure 27 initiated is intended to thread the extremely narrow needle that the South Dakota Supreme Court introduced in 2021 when the court invalidated the state’s legalization vote in 2020 because it allegedly dealt with more than one issue. Under state law, constitutional amendments can only affect a single issue.

Legalizing the possession and sale of cannabis could be invalidated for similar reasons. So just legalization. Sales will only happen if separate legislation is passed, either by the legislature or at the ballot box.

How do I vote in South Dakota?

This is important: Check your registration status and ID card validity now while there is still time to update both.

Vote in person on paper ballots on Tuesday, November 8, 2022. Polling stations are open nationwide from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Click this link to find out where to vote in South Dakota (note: double-check before you go as the list refers to primary polling locations).

Not sure if you’re registered or current? Check out the South Dakota State Department website. You can register to vote up to 15 days before the election.

Voting takes place in person and by post. Remember to bring your valid ID with you to the polling station.

Postal voting is permitted. Check the state website for how it’s done.

Logo for the Cannabis Reform Campaign: the number 27 in large red letters with a blue tick in front of red, white and blue stripes in a circleIM 27 would allow adults to grow and possess cannabis but not sell it. (Logo courtesy of SDBML)

What is required to pass legalization?

The initiative must garner a majority of the votes cast in a statewide election to pass. In other words, 50.01% agreement is enough.

If it happens, when would possession of marijuana be legal?

Possession would become legal on July 1, 2023.

How much can I own?

Adults 21 and older may possess up to one ounce of cannabis flower. Adults may not possess more than eight grams of concentrate.

When could I start growing my own?

Homegrow would become legal on July 1, 2023.

Related

WTF: South Dakota will vote to legalize weed again this November

When would weed shops open?

Don’t expect any weed shops to open in South Dakota any time soon. IM-27 only legalizes possession, home growing, and distribution without sale.

Can I smoke a joint in public?

no However, public consumption can only net you a $100 fine.

will it happen That’s what the latest polls say

The last poll, from July 2022, concluded that only 44% of voters support legalization. whoops But campaign manager Matt Schweich questions the legitimacy of the poll; He cites dramatic swings in support from 2020 polls as evidence of the inaccuracy.

Sponsors of the legalization initiative

The South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws organization is leading the legalization campaign. Matt Schweich of the Marijuana Policy Project is serving as campaign manager.

The New Approach Advocacy Fund and the Marijuana Policy Project are the two biggest supporters of the campaign; they have collectively provided over $125,000 in in-kind donations to the campaign.

Opponents of the legalization initiative

Protecting South Dakota Kids was formed to counter IM-27. The group has abandoned its own election campaign, but continues to fight IM-27 both through Facebook and through in-person events.

The group raised a total of $1.32 in donations last year. Serious.

How many weed stores will be allowed?

Nada. Zero. zilch.

Is Marijuana Taxed?

No sales, no taxes, my friends.

What about the cancellation process?

The measure contains no wording regarding the deletion or sealing of records.

Wait, didn’t South Dakota already vote to legalize marijuana?

South Dakota voted to legalize adult use in 2020 by a majority of 54 to 46. Shortly thereafter, Gov. Kristi Noem (R) conspired with the state Supreme Court to overturn the vote on false grounds. The court argued 4-1 that the amendment was unconstitutional because it allegedly affected more than a single issue: in this case, recreational marijuana, medical marijuana, and hemp.

Related

South Dakota Supreme Court ends legalization of adult use

Max Savage Levenson

Max Savage Levenson probably has the lowest cannabis tolerance of any author on the cannabis beat. He also writes about music for Pitchfork, Bandcamp and other bespectacled people. He is the co-host of the Hash podcast. His dream interview is Tyler the Creator.

Check out Max Savage Levenson’s articles

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