PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Democrats have trouble winning legislative contests in South Dakota but they have found success on ballot issues — as shown again Tuesday when a majority of voters favored legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana.

Two Democratic former U.S. attorneys, Brendan Johnson and Randy Seiler, led the campaign. With 622 of 693 precincts counted, and 71 more partially in, the yes side on Amendment A led 200,554 – 174,919 early Wednesday.

Johnson tweeted a message to South Dakota legislators after it became clear Amendment A would pass:

“South Dakotans of all stripes clearly want to end to marijuana prohibition. You may disagree. But let’s work together to keep it safe and legal and well regulated. No spiking the football here. Let’s work together & get this right.”

Johnson later tweeted, “South Dakota first state to legalize medical and recreational marijuana at the same time? What does it mean? I think it means we don’t want our kids/friends/neighbors put in jail for drugs, in my opinion. Let’s keep moving forward.”

South Dakota is the only state in the nation where possession or ingestion of marijuana is a crime, with the penalties — Class 1 misdemeanor or various levels of felonies — dependent on the amount. That was the focus of a TV ad from Seiler. He is chair of the South Dakota Democratic Party that saw some of its legislative candidates lose seats Tuesday.

Johnson also tweeted to members of his party: “Dear South Dakota Democrats: What is more popular than ANY Republican on our ballot in the last 6 years? Medical Marijuana. There are lessons to be learned.” Initiated Measure 26 legalizing medical marijuana for anyone also won Tuesday by a much broader margin.

What came through in the results on Amendment A was South Dakotans could vote to legalize pot and also support Republican candidates for president, Congress, PUC and legislative seats.

Large-population counties that supported Amendment A included Minnehaha, Pennington, Brookings, Brown, Clay, Codington, Hughes, Lake, Lawrence, Lincoln, Meade, Union and Yankton.

Voters in rural counties meanwhile agreed with Republican Governor Kristi Noem, who in a TV ad urged Amendment A’s defeat.

Johnson is a son of former U.S. Senator Tim Johnson, a Democrat who represented South Dakota in Congress for 28 years and retired in 2014. Serving as spokesman for the marijuana drive was Drey Samuelson, who was the senator’s chief of staff throughout his congressional career.

Kevin Sabet, president of the national group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, issued a statement Tuesday criticizing the outcome of the South Dakota vote and outlining possible next steps.

“It’s upsetting, but not surprising given the amount of industry money flowing in, to see the marijuana industry expand into South Dakota, a state already suffering from issues stemming from widespread substance abuse disorders. In the long run, a few people will profit while hundreds of families will suffer as a result of increased addiction, impaired driving, and poorer educational outcomes and opportunities,” Sabet said.

He added, “But we’re not done. Moving forward, we aim to aid those at the local level in establishing rules that prohibit the industry from opening stores and conducting other activity in their communities. As we have seen in state after state with a legal market, the overwhelming majority of communities have chosen to ban marijuana storefronts, deliveries, growing operations, and other activities. This fact alone serves as a counter to the industry’s claim that commercialization is widely supported.”

Because it’s a constitutional amendment, the Legislature can’t simply overturn it, as Republicans did four years ago after voters passed Initiated Measure 22. Lawmakers later passed a variety of pieces similar to some parts that were in the measure.

The difficulty legislators will face is structuring the laws in a fashion acceptable to Noem after the amendment takes effect July 1. Last year she vetoed industrial-hemp legislation, arguing it would lead to legalization of marijuana. She signed a different version of the low-THC hemp bill into law this year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved South Dakota’s plan for industrial hemp last month.

The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s president David Owen coordinated the opposition to the marijuana measure on the ballot and raised about $200,000 through its “NO Way on Amendment A” committee. The pro-side raised about $2.2 million through its committee, “South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws.”