SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota voters are deciding whether to legalize marijuana in the state.
Amendment A would legalize it for recreational use. This race is close with 38 percent reporting. 50 percent of votes have come in as yes, while 49-percent have come in as no.
We talked to those who support and oppose the amendment as they are watching the results closely.
“Recreational marijuana means everybody 21 years and older can have an ounce of marijuana. This puts marijuana every place in South Dakota. Puts dispensaries on main streets for cities; any city that wants to do it. We think that will increase youth usage. We think like other states we will see accidental poisonings of young people. We think we will see more traffic accidents,” chairman ‘No way on Amendment A’ David Owen said.
“Obviously this is very close, but we knew it would be, and we believe that the merits of the amendment would be persuasive because passage of Amendment A would mean that kids won’t have their lives ruined by possessing a small amount of marijuana, and it will generate $250 million in tax revenue four our public schools and state’s general fund, and lead to a huge economic boom in South Dakota,” campaign manager for SD for Better Marijuana Laws Drey Samuelson said.
South Dakotans also voted on Initiated Measure 26, which would establish a medical marijuana program for qualifying patients. With 38 percent reporting, 67 percent of the votes have come in as yes and 32 percent no.
Melissa Mentele is the executive director of New Approach South Dakota and supports the passing of IM 26.
“It’s important for South Dakotans to have access to alternative medicines that are not just pharmaceuticals for pain relief, and cancer pain, and multiple sclerosis. There are so many things that we could be using, a non toxic, non deadly medicine for and it’s time to give South Dakotans a chance to try it,” Mentele said.
In the past, KELOLAND News has spoken with members of South Dakota’s medical community who say voters need to consider the health risks of marijuana.