Exciting news! A newly formed political campaign, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, has launched an effort to pass two marijuana reform ballot initiatives in South Dakota next year.
Yes, you read that right: South Dakota.
The first ballot initiative, a proposed constitutional amendment, would legalize and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older and direct the legislature to enact laws regulating the cultivation and sale of hemp. The second ballot initiative, a proposed statutory amendment, would establish a medical marijuana law for qualifying patients.
The 2020 campaign, supported by MPP, must collect 33,921 signatures from voters by November 3 of this year to qualify the constitutional initiative for the 2020 ballot. The statutory initiative will require 16,961 voter signatures to qualify.
Leading politicians in the state have consistently opposed marijuana policy reform, and Gov. Kristi Noem even opposes the legalization of industrial hemp. This campaign will give the voters of South Dakota the opportunity to decide these issues at the ballot box.
We will keep you informed of major developments. You also can follow the campaign and support them by signing up for email alerts on their website.
Over the years, our movement has made significant progress through the ballot box. This year will be no different. Be part of the wave of change today and go vote!
Voters are weighing in on adult-use legalization initiatives in Michigan and North Dakota and medical marijuana measures in Utah and Missouri. Some residents of Ohio and Wisconsin, too, have a chance to voice their support for local measures ending punitive marijuana policies. Go here for information about this year’s ballot questions.
Voters in states without marijuana-related ballot initiatives can play a huge role in changing marijuana laws, too.Visit MPP’s website to find out where candidates stand on marijuana policy in every gubernatorial race, along with in-depth state legislative voter guides for nine states. Roughly half the country lacks a ballot initiative process. The only way we can change marijuana laws in those states is to support thoughtful elected officials and oppose those who aren’t.
If you haven’t voted yet, make a plan right now. Look up your polling location and set a time to go. Spread the word on social media and urge your friends to vote, too!
There’s too much at stake to sit it out.
Learn more about the campaign and make a donation here.
Last month, a team of grassroots activists beat the odds and succeeded in qualifying a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for adults in North Dakota. With just a few weeks left until Election Day, they need our help. Today, MPP is endorsing their effort and urging allies to support Measure 3. Click here to read the full text of the measure.
There’s a real chance North Dakotans could approve Measure 3, which would end prohibition and create a process to seal criminal records for nonviolent marijuana convictions, but polling suggests the vote is going to be very close. Every dollar the campaign receives goes towards voter outreach and education. North Dakota has a small population, so your contribution could make all the difference.
A victory for Measure 3 would be huge. It would show that adult-use legalization can win anywhere, even in more rural and conservative states. It would also send a strong message to Congress that federal laws on marijuana are deeply unpopular throughout the country.
2018 is shaping up to be a big year for our movement. There are four marijuana-related state ballot questions in play, and each of them needs your help. Click the logos below to check out the campaigns. Please follow them on social media, spread the word to voters in those states, and donate what you can.
New Approach South Dakota has 90 days to collect the remaining signatures needed to place marijuana initiative measures on the 2018 ballot.
Two petitions are being circulated — one seeks to legalize marijuana for medical uses and the other to legalize certain amounts of marijuana for adult use and to regulate and tax marijuana businesses.
Signatures are tied to the number of votes cast in the state's most recent gubernatorial election, so each petition needs at least 13,871 signatures by November 2017 to make it on the November 2018 ballot.
To read the petitions and for more information about adding your signature, check out New Approach South Dakota’s website.
The first-ever ballot initiative dealing with medical marijuana in North Dakota has taken a step forward. On Monday, more than 20,000 signatures were delivered to North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger by North Dakotans for Compassionate Care -- well above the 13,500 required to qualify the initiative for November’s ballot. Jaeger will have approximately one month to review the signatures and certify the initiative for the ballot.
The proposed law would allow patients to grow and possess limited amounts of marijuana. Qualifying medical conditions would include cancer, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other serious illnesses. Marijuana dispensaries would also be licensed and subject to regulation by the North Dakota Health Department.
While neighboring Montana currently allows medicinal marijuana under the 2009 Medical Marijuana Act, South Dakota voters rejected similar ballot initiatives in recent years, with 52 percent opposed in 2006 and 63 percent voting against it in 2010.
Dave Schwartz, campaign director for the advocacy group, commented however that attitudes have shifted recently in favor of medical marijuana as many people have had personal contact with someone who has or could have benefited from marijuana’s pain-relieving and anti-nausea effects. “[One] of the myths that we often hear is that this is only for people to just go ahead and get high, and that’s not the case,” Schwartz said. “This is about medical patients who would benefit greatly from it.”
Could marijuana ballot initiatives be the key to Democratic electoral victories? Joshua Green at The Atlantic seems to think so.
Acting on a tip from an Obama official, I found a few Democratic consultants who have become convinced that ballot initiatives legalizing marijuana, like the one Californians will vote on in November, actually help Democrats in the same way that gay marriage bans were supposed to have helped Republicans.
Scott Morgan at StoptheDrugWar sums it up nicely:
When political pundits begin speculating about our ability to bring out voters, that sends a message to politicians in a language they understand. For decades, the Democratic Party has remained shamefully silent on marijuana policy -- despite overwhelming support for reform within its base – all because party leaders persist in clinging foolishly to the 1980's mentality that any departure from the "tough on drugs" doctrine is political suicide. What now?
The prestigious Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) published a statewide survey this month showing that 38% of likely 2010 voters in California consider legalizing marijuana a "very important" issue. Another 24% consider the issue "somewhat important." This includes voters who are passionate about ending prohibition and voters who strongly support continuing the war on marijuana.
While the 38% figure is lower than other issues expected to be on next year's California ballots, it's worth noting that just a year ago this question would not have been asked by PPIC and wasn't even on the radar for the mast majority of voters. This is a testament to the success of advocates in putting the problem of marijuana prohibition onto center stage.
How far will we push it next year?
A measure seeking to make personal marijuana possession and cultivation legal for adults appears to be headed to California’s November 2010 ballot. Proponents of the initiative -- led by Oaksterdam University founder Richard Lee -- say they have more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot next year.
The initiative, the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act, would allow adults over 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate a garden of up to 25 square feet. It would give local governments the ability to tax and regulate the distribution of marijuana but also would allow them to ban local sales. Language in the proposal leaves the state legislature the option to set up a statewide regulatory system for legal marijuana sales.
Ultimately MPP seeks a system under which marijuana is taxed and regulated throughout the state similarly to alcohol, but any relief from the misery of marijuana prohibition will be a good thing for Californians. Passage of this initiative would surely be a step in the right direction.
This measure is one of four marijuana reform initiatives circulating in California. However, the three others are relying on volunteer petitioners and seem to be far less likely to collect the 433,971 valid signatures needed to qualify in time for the 2010 ballot.
For more information or to become involved in the initiative campaign, visit TaxCannabis2010.org.