South Dakota marijuana laws

For the second consecutive election, voters in South Dakota will decide on a ballot measure to legalize marijuana use by those age 21 or older.

Representatives from the group South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws said today that the Secretary of State had confirmed that advocates had secured the necessary number of signatures to place the measure on the November ballot.

“We are very pleased that we’ve qualified for the ballot and we are extremely thankful to everyone who signed our petitions, our volunteers, our staff and our supporters,” SDBML Director Matthew Schweich said. “We look forward to being on the ballot in November and we’re confident we can win again and restore the will of the people of South Dakota.”

Initiated Measure 27 permits adults to possess (up to one ounce), home-cultivate (up to three mature plants), and/or transfer without remuneration limited quantities of cannabis. The measure does not seek to establish a regulatory framework governing the licensed production and retail sale of marijuana.

Advocates limited the scope of the measure after a previous, more comprehensive measure was struck down by the state Supreme Court.

In November 2020, the majority of South Dakota voters decided in favor of a separate citizen-initiated measure (Constitutional Amendment A) legalizing the adult-use possession and the licensed retail sale of cannabis. However, shortly following the vote, Republican Gov. Kristi Noem facilitated litigation seeking to strike down the law as unconstitutional. Justices on the South Dakota Supreme Court eventually ruled 4 to 1 that the amendment “violated the single subject requirement in the South Dakota Constitution.” A House-approved bill seeking to legalize the adult-use marijuana market in South Dakota was defeated in the Senate in February.

NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “It is a testament to the grassroots support that exists in favor of legalization in South Dakota that advocates were successful in their effort to once again place the legalization question before voters. Most South Dakotans, like most voters elsewhere, oppose the notion of criminalizing adults simply for the possession and use of cannabis and we are confident that they will once again make their voices heard at the ballot box.”

Voters in several additional states, including Maryland and Missouri, will also decide on the issue in November.

Additional information on the campaign is available from South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws.

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