Recreational marijuana advocates: “We are not going anywhere”
RAPID CITY, S.D. — South Dakotans without medical authorization cards will not be able to fire up legally. I.M. 27 – an initiated measure to legalize recreational marijuana – was defeated 53% to 47% during the midterm election.
“Yes on 27” Campaign Manager Matthew Schweich says they faced an uphill battle, with midterm voter turn-outs generally smaller and more conservative. Schweich adds that trying to decriminalize marijuana while there’s a heightened concern nationwide about crime was a challenge.
He hit back against negative ads run by Anti-I.M. 27 groups, and said he’d rather lose with integrity than run a campaign that demonizes people.
As for what’s next, Schweich says they’re decompressing, but that the effort isn’t going away.
“Its going to be legal in South Dakota at some point in the near future,” Schweich said. “It’s not a question of ‘if,’ it’s a question of ‘when?’ I would love to see the legislature just deal with this issue, but I fear that they won’t, and that we’re going to have to do another initiative in 2024.”
Schweich also says that by rejecting recreational marijuana now, it will handicap small, locally-owned marijuana businesses in the future.
Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender, who has been openly against legalizing recreational marijuana, wrote in a statement to NewsCenter1:
“I am very pleased that South Dakotans voted yesterday for public safety. Our current state of crime and mental health could not bear the weight of recreational marijuana. My hat is off to South Dakota voters for doing the right thing!”
South Dakotans approved I.M. 26, which legalized medical marijuana, back in 2020.