SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Just before Snoop Dogg took the stage in a haze of smoke at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, advocates stood outside the venue to draw support for legalizing cannabis in South Dakota.

Last November the South Dakota Supreme Court struck down Amendment A which would have allowed for the recreational use of marijuana in the state. Now, Matthew Schweich and the South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws organization are pushing once again to allow South Dakotans to vote on whether to legalize the substance.

The petition needs 16,961 signatures to appear on the November 2022 ballot and as of April 13, the organization had an estimated 13,500 of the signatures needed. That’s why they used the Snoop Dogg concert as an opportunity to connect with voters.

“We collected several hundred signatures: we’re still counting through them. We’re very pleased with how it went,” campaign director Matthew Schweich told KELOLAND News on Wednesday.

The proposed initiated measure is a simpler version of Amendment A, Schweich explained. This measure would legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older as well as allow for home cultivation and reduce some criminal penalties related to cannabis. Unlike Amendment A, this measure will not include anything about the regulation of the substance nor will it be tied to medicinal marijuana use.

“This time around, our initiative is very short and simple so that we can avoid any potential lawsuit down the road,” Schweich said.

Tuesday night’s concert allowed Schweich and organizers to connect with voters and them to not only sign the petition but begin the process to register to vote.

“It won’t surprise anyone that I didn’t encounter a single person who opposed cannabis legalization outside of a Snoop Dogg concert,” Schweich said.

While the support was strong at the concert, Schweich said that across the state the organization encountered many South Dakotans who wanted to sign for reasons other than legalizing recreational cannabis. Schweich said that some people they spoke with were having difficulty receiving a medical cannabis card through the state of South Dakota or finding a doctor to prescribe them medical marijuana that they qualified for.

For others, their signature on the petition had nothing to do with cannabis at all: It was about respecting the will of the voters in the 2020 election.

“The people are motivated to come sign, it’s not just about cannabis reform. It’s bigger than that,” Schweich said. “It’s about the ballot initiative process and how it really is under attack in this state.”

The support for marijuana legalization was even present during the concert itself as some members of the audience were using marijuana according to the PREMIER Center’s general manager, Mike Krewson.

“There was, obviously, some marijuana smoking in the building with a show like that but then again you prioritize, as a venue, safety as far as fights, drunkenness, that type of thing,” Krewson said. 

Despite some outliers, Krewson said the audience of over 9,000 was safe and well-behaved for the most part and called the show a success for both the venue and the act.

Sioux Falls Public Information Officer Sam Clemens said that the police department did not receive any calls of drug use at the PREMIER Center during Tuesday’s show and there were no arrests made.

For those interested in signing South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws’ petition, Schweich said that people can either call or text (605) 269-8552 to find a signing location near your city or for those in Sioux Falls, you can stop by the headquarters office located at 1020 S. Minnesota Avenue.

There will also be a drive-up signing event this weekend at the Sioux Falls headquarters from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.