South Dakotans for better marijuana laws kicks off drive-thru petition signing event

The organization says they're nearing the finish line for the 16,961 votes needed to make the November ballot as the May 3 deadline approaches.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The push for the legalization of recreational marijuana in South Dakota continues.

That push was evident by South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws holding a two-day drive thru signing petition signing event in Rapid City.

The event kicked off on Saturday at 230 E. North St. and continues on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The organization says they’re nearing the finish line, as the May 3 deadline approaches.

“We’ve definitely got some increased momentum since we put the word out that we’re still short and we’re really excited about the response we’re seeing today in Rapid (City), but we have to keep going. We can’t take our foot off the gas,” said Matthew Schweich, the campaign director for South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws.

After 54 percent of South Dakota residents voted to legalize recreational marijuana through Amendment A in 2020, it was struck down by the South Dakota Supreme Court due to a single subject issue for constitutional amendments.

But Schweich says it’s time to leave that in the past and focus on getting the remaining signatures.

Petition Signing 4Currently, he estimates that the petition has around 13,500 valid signatures out of the 16,961 needed signatures to make it on the November ballot.

Schweich says a reason for the sudden rise in signatures is due to South Dakota voters that originally didn’t support recreational marijuana.

“Just today I’ve talked to people who stopped by who said ‘I didn’t support Amendment A in 2020, but I’m signing this petition because I do not like the idea of politicians using taxpayer money to overturn the will of the people,'” Schweich said.

As far as the particular difference between this initiative and Amendment A, Schweich says its more conservative and focuses more on the general legalization aspect.

“This 2022 initiative is only about personal possession, limited home cultivation and certain reduced criminal penalties. It does not include regulations, taxation or the licensing of businesses,” Schweich said.

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