On Thursday, supporters of a proposed South Dakota measure to legalize recreational marijuana received a proverbial green light from the state’s attorney general and can now begin collecting the necessary signatures to place their initiative on the 2018 ballot.
A perennial underdog in the Mount Rushmore State, backers of the adult-use initiative will need to submit approximately 14,000 valid signatures by November 6, 2017, to be considered by South Dakota’s voters during the 2018 General Election.
“An initiated measure to legalize all quantities of marijuana and to make other changes to State law involving marijuana,” South Dakota’s Attorney General published in the official explanation that will be circulated on the petitions.
According to South Dakota’s Attorney General, the 2018 initiative would modify the following:
- This measure legalizes all quantities of marijuana possession and distribution under State law as well as marijuana paraphernalia. People under 21 who possess or use marijuana are subject to restrictions. The measure removes certain references to marijuana from statutes prohibiting driving and boating while intoxicated.
- A parent’s marijuana possession or use cannot be considered in child custody cases. With certain exceptions, marijuana possession, use, or distribution no longer disqualifies students from participating in extracurricular school activities. Nor does it prevent students from receiving state-funded college scholarships.
- The measure prohibits law enforcement and state agencies from keeping certain records involving a person’s marijuana use or possession, and from enforcing federal marijuana laws. It significantly limits state asset forfeitures involving marijuana. It also limits the ability of a “locality” to regulate marijuana-related activities.
- The measure establishes April 20 as “Cannabis Day” and allows residents free admission to state parks on that day.
A potential watershed year for South Dakota voters, there are numerous pieces of marijuana-related legislation in contention for the 2018 ballot.