Will South Dakota be OK again after canceling the first beat?
When it comes to marijuana, South Dakota has been a leader among its neighbors on the Great Plains: one of the first to legalize recreational marijuana use, the first to approve medical and recreational forms in the same vote, and the only one to repeal recreational measures.
Legalization is back on the ballot in November, but whether the politically red state will become the first to pass it twice remains in doubt.
He faces strong opposition from conservative groups and activists determined to steer the state away from legalizing pot. And while 54% of voters approved a constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis in 2020, that campaign may have benefited from a medical marijuana measure appearing on the same ballot.
This time, recreational marijuana remains on the ballot separately. And it will likely run into a different demographic of voters — older and perhaps less drug-addicted — in a midterm election rather than a presidential year, said Matt Schweich, who organized that campaign and is doing so again this year.
“I think it’s a close race,” he said at a news conference to kick off the statewide race voter registration round last week. “We need our people to get out and vote.”
Proponents of pot legalization have found success primarily through the ballot rather than through the legislature, especially in GOP-controlled states. Voters in three states where Republicans control the governor’s office and both houses of the legislature — Arkansas, Missouri and North Dakota — are deciding on recreational marijuana this year, as is politically divided Maryland.
In South Dakota, Schweich’s campaign is using messages that won over voters in 2020: banning pot wastes law enforcement resources and makes it more difficult to obtain for medical purposes. Schweich added a third argument this year: the will of the voters was canceled.
Before the 2020 constitutional amendment could take effect, Republican Gov. Christie Noem authorized the lawsuit, arguing that it violated the single-subject requirement because it legalized recreational marijuana, medical marijuana, and cannabis. A district judge and the state Supreme Court agreed.
“We’ve put in so much work to get to this point,” Schweich said, recalling the 2020 campaign, the ensuing legal battle and efforts to get the Legislature to pass a separate measure on medical marijuana. “To fail at the last hurdle is just an unbearable thought for me.”
But Noem’s successful block on recreational marijuana has inspired a stronger opposition campaign this year.
Jim Kinyon, a counselor who runs Catholic Social Services in Rapid City, said he was surprised when voters decided to legalize pot in 2020.
Not this year. He heads an organization called South Dakota Children’s Defense, which argues that legalizing pot for adults would be harmful to children. The group released an aggressive ad featuring the faces of young children and the caption: “Future addicts.”
“It’s about my families, my communities and my children,” Kinyon said.
At an outreach event for the group last week at a go-kart and miniature golf park in Sioux Falls, about three dozen middle-aged people gathered to hear a presentation about the dangers of using pot and strategize how to convince their friends and neighbors not to do it again. vote for legalization.
“I feel like we’re a picket fence on the beach and a tsunami is coming,” said Ed Moses, a retired Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper who adapted an anti-pot message he once gave to high school students into an anti-legalization message for voters. .
He pointed to Colorado to argue that legalization has opened up many challenges.
In the years since Colorado became the first in the nation to legalize recreational pot, it has seen an increase in traffic deaths when drivers test positive for marijuana. Area of high drug trafficking in the Rockies program. According to the report, more people in Colorado are using marijuana, but young people between the ages of 12 and 17 are actually reporting a recent decrease in marijuana use.
Schweich said that the opposition campaign is based on misinformation. He said he shared the goal of keeping cannabis away from children, but added that opponents “want to use the failed policy of prohibition, which has failed even though we’ve tried it for almost a century.”
He acknowledged that adult pot legalization won’t make the underground market disappear instantly, but argued that over time it could be replaced by a well-regulated industry.
For now, the legal pot industry in South Dakota is just getting started with medical cannabis. Since opening the Dispensary Flower Shop in Sioux Falls in September, owner Peter Dickun has seen a steady stream of customers, but not enough to make his business profitable yet.
He hopes voters will legalize recreational pot, giving him a chance to grow his business and prove his case that pot can be regulated like alcohol. He said he is still trying to convince some family members of that argument before the November election, but they are likely to vote against it.
“You’re always swimming against the current,” said the Savage.
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Citation: Will South Dakota be OK again after the 1 st? (2022, October 23) Retrieved October 23, 2022, from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-10-south-dakota-pot-1st-reversed.html
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