SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – There’s still more than 260 days until signatures are due to the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office for 2024 ballot measures, but the list of possible questions for voters continues to get longer.
As of Aug. 14, there are six 2024 ballot questions approved for collecting signatures:
- A constitutional amendment establishing a right to an abortion in the state.
- A constitutional amendment to create top-two primary elections.
- A constitutional amendment to limit state lawmakers from serving more than 16 years in the legislature.
- A constitutional amendment prohibiting the legislature from amending or repealing ballot measures for seven years.
- Both a constitutional amendment and initiated measure to stop the sales tax on groceries.
In addition to the six questions approved for collecting signatures, there’s two marijuana-related proposed ballot measures that have received draft statements from Attorney General Marty Jackley. State law requires the AG to provide a draft title and explanation for each ballot measure to help voters of the purpose and effect of the proposed measure.
The AG’s office has received comments on a proposed initiated measure to repeal South Dakota’s medical marijuana program. The AG’s office is also currently receiving comments (until Aug. 21) on a proposed initiated measure to legalize marijuana possession for people 21 years of age or older.
If both measures end up being approved to start collecting signatures by the secretary of state’s office, there’s a chance South Dakota voters could vote on repealing medical marijuana in the state and vote on legalizing marijuana.
The South Dakota Constitution sets thresholds for the number of signatures required from registered South Dakota voters for a measure to make the ballot. For the 2024 election, the number of signatures are a minimum of 17,508 valid signatures for a proposed initiated measure and a minimum of 35,017 valid signatures for a proposed constitutional amendment.
Travis Ismay, with an address listed in Butte County, is the main sponsor for the ballot measure looking to repeal medical marijuana. There were more than 45 submitted comments to the AG’s office from July 27 to Aug. 6 on the draft statement.
Ismay wrote to have the first paragraph of the ballot explanation removed.
“This has nothing to do with the ballot initiative itself, only the approval of the sad law 34-20g that this initiative is attempting to repeal,” an email from Ismay said.
There were many submitted comments criticizing the proposed ballot measure but not offering comment on the AG draft statement.
Matthew Schweich, with an address listed in Sioux Falls, is the main sponsor for the ballot measure looking to legalize marijuana. Schweich led the 2022 fight for marijuana legalization.
The proposed ballot measure is only four sections long and comments on the AG’s draft statement will be received until Aug. 21.
Marijuana history in South Dakota
The 2024 election would be the third consecutive election South Dakota voters would weigh in on the topic of marijuana legalization.
In 2020, medical marijuana was on the ballot twice in 2020 in both Amendment A and Initiated Measure 26. IM 26, which was strictly an initiated measure dealing with medical marijuana, passed by a 70%-30% margin in 2020.
In 2022, Initiated Measure 27, a ballot measure to legalize marijuana, failed 53%-47%.
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but 23 states have legalized marijuana for people 21 and older.