SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – In just a few short days, South Dakotans will be heading to the polls. One of the things they will be voting on is whether to legalize marijuana.
Amendment A would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana as well as require laws ensuring access to medical marijuana. IM 26 would establish a medical marijuana program for qualifying patients.
In a zoom news conference on Friday proponents gave reasons why the two ballot measures should pass.
“Amendment A empowers the department of revenue to control and regulate virtually every aspect of marijuana production from seed to sale, specifically it authorizes regulators to ban or restrict high potency products, it all explicitly directs the department to establish restrictions on the manufacturer and sale of edible products,” supporter, 40th United States Attorney for the District of South Dakota, Brendan Johnson said.
Supporters also say legalization will no longer turn casual users of marijuana into criminals.
“An arrest record or criminal history makes it more difficult to get a job, more difficult to enlist in the military, rent an apartment, and for a small, minor mistake, individuals have to pay the price throughout the course of their lifetime,” supporter, 41st United States Attorney for the District of South Dakota, Randy Seiler said.
KELOLAND News also spoke with the head of the group opposing Amendment A. David Owen is the chairman of the ‘No Way on Amendment A’ ballot committee.
“Let’s talk about the tax revenue that they claim its going to do so much for South Dakota, understand that they are talking about $30 million four years from now, which you are going to lose a significant portion of that to enforcement, you’re probably going to need 50 or more agents at the department of revenue, so you’re going to lose $5 or $6 million off the top, and you’re going to have increased social impacts you’re going to have to deal with so there will be some revenue, our caution is don’t spend it until you see it,” opposes Amendment A, chairman ‘No Way on Amendment A’ ballot committee, David Owen said.
He also has concerns about what will happen with the younger population.
“We are afraid you are going to see an increase in usage by young people, there’s 600,000 people age 21 and older in South Dakota, you give them access to marijuana, the kids are going to get it,” Owen said.