South Dakota Legalization Campaign Passes 15,000 Signature Benchmark for 2022 Initiative

Sioux Falls, S.D., Dec. 9, 2021 – PRESS RELEASE — South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws (SDBML), the campaign that has worked since 2019 to legalize adult-use and medical cannabis in the state, announced it has collected over 15,000 signatures for its proposed 2022 adult-use cannabis initiative.

“We have collected a large number of signatures in a short space of time, but we need to keep working. Our goal is to collect a total of 25,000 signatures to ensure that we safely qualify for the 2022 ballot,” said Matthew Schweich, campaign director for SDBML. “Over two-thirds of our signatures came from volunteers, which demonstrates the very strong public support for our issue.”

SDBML needs roughly 17,000 valid signatures to qualify for the 2022 ballot, but the statewide ballot question committee hopes to collect above and beyond that mark to provide a buffer in case some of the signatures are not validated (i.e., signees who do not write their information legibly or who think they’re registered to vote when in fact they are not), Schweich told Cannabis Business Times last month.

Also last month, the South Dakota Supreme Court overturned Amendment A, the adult-use cannabis law approved by 54% of South Dakota voters in 2020, in a ruling that Schweich described as a “far-fetched legal theory based on no logical or evidentiary support.”

RELATED: Seven Months Later, South Dakota Supreme Court Says ‘No’ to Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization

“In light of the extremely flawed Amendment A ruling, we hope that the South Dakota Legislature will enact a cannabis law in the upcoming session,” Schweich said. “But if that does not occur, we will give South Dakota voters the opportunity to approve legalization at the next election. We will not stop working until the will of the people is respected.”

The SDBML team has set up signing locations across the state, which can be found at www.sd2022.org/map. SDBML also plans to organize special signature collection events in the near future. Updates will be posted at www.sd2022.org and www.facebook.com/SouthDakotaMJ

The proposed 2022 initiative, which can be read in full here (www.southdakotamarijuana.org/2022-initiative) is a simplified version of Amendment A. There is nothing in the recent Amendment A ruling that would cause the 2022 initiative to be overturned in a future lawsuit.

A 2022 initiated measure requires 16,961 valid signatures from registered South Dakota voters to qualify for the November 2022 ballot. However, it is common practice for political campaigns to add a significant buffer to that figure to account for illegible handwriting from petition signers.

Earlier this year, a federal judge issued a ruling that extended the deadline for submitting petitions for initiated measures to May 3, 2022. The previous deadline, which still applies to constitutional initiatives, was Nov. 8, 2021.

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