South Dakota Medical Marijuana, Initiative 13 (2010)

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The South Dakota Medical Marijuana Initiative also known as Initiative 13, was on the November 2, 2010 ballot in South Dakota as an initiated state statute, where it was defeated.

The measure would have legalized the possession, use, distribution and cultivation of marijuana by persons registered with the South Dakota Department of Health. The measure would have required certification from a physician indicating that a registrant had a debilitating medical condition that could be aided by the use of marijuana.[1][2]

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results
South Dakota Initiative 13 (2010)
Defeatedd No199,55263.31%
Yes 115,667 36.69%

Election results via: South Dakota Political Almanac, South Dakota Constitutional Amendments, Initiatives and Referendums 1970-2010

Text of measure


An Initiated Measure to authorize the possession, use and cultivation of marijuana by and for persons with specified debilitating medical conditions registered with the Department of Health.[3]



The proposed initiated measure would change state law to legalize marijuana possession, use, distribution and cultivation by persons registered with the South Dakota Department of Heath. These activities remain illegal under federal law.

Registration to use, possess and cultivate marijuana would require a certification from a physician that the registrant has a debilitating medical condition and that the potential benefits of the marijuana use would likely outweigh the health risks. Minors may be registered with parental consent. The registrant may designate another person to cultivate, possess, and distribute marijuana for the registrant’s use. The designee must register with the Department and may provide only a limited amount of marijuana for a maximum of five registrants.
Schools, employers and landlords may not refuse to enroll, employ, or lease based upon marijuana registration unless required by federal law. The proposed law does not require that a registrant be allowed to use marijuana in a workplace or on property owned by another.

A vote “Yes” is for legalizing marijuana for registrants and designees. A vote “No” is against the proposed law.[3] [4]


See also: South Dakota Medical Marijuana Measure (2006)
Marijuana on the ballot in 2010
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In 2006 a marijuana-related measure was defeated with a 52.30% vote against the proposed measure. The 2006 South Dakota Medical Marijuana Initiative proposed allowing "persons, including minors with parental consent, with a debilitating medical condition, to be certified to grow (not more than six plants), possess (not more than one ounce) and use small amounts of marijuana for medical purposes."[5]


The measure was supported by South Dakotans for Safe Access and South Dakota Coalition for Compassion. According to reports, the campaign in support of Initiated Measure 13 was launched in mid-May 2010.[6] The campaign committee is called - "Yes for Compassion, Yes on 13!"


  • Patrick Lynch, initiative supporter and board member of South Dakota Coalition for Compassion said, "Doctors and Patients should not be subjected to criminal sanctions for simply pursuing the most effective form of therapy; initiated measure 13 will lift those sanctions and will provide relief for the many patients and their families who live in fear everyday that someone will come knocking at their door."[7]
  • Emmett Reistroffer, director of communications for South Dakota Coalition for Compassion said, "Our members are united behind protecting the sick and the dying and we now aim to educate the public about the various medical applications for cannabis before the election this November."[7]


According to state campaign finance reports, Yes for Compassion reportedly received $5,046 and spent $1,644 primarily on travel and advertising. As of June 30, the committee had $3,402 on hand.[8]

Tactics and strategies

  • In July 2010, supporters revealed that although they had not yet spent a lot of campaign funds, it could easily "get very expensive." According to reports, supporters planned to hire field workers, recruit volunteers to explain the measure to voters, register voters and advertise on television and radio.[8]
  • On September 13, 2010 the South Dakota Coalition for Compassion and the Students for Sensible Drug Policy held a rally at the corner of Sixth Street and Medary Avenue near South Dakota State University.[9]


In September 2010, Vote No on 13 launched the campaign against Initiated Measure 13. Organizations in opposition to the proposed measure included medical and law enforcement organizations in South Dakota. Opponents argued that legalization of marijuana for medical use would result in an increase in drug activity and argued that there were safer medical alternatives.[10]


  • According to reports, Staci Eggert, executive director of the South Dakota Sheriffs' Association, said law enforcement officials were likely to oppose the measure because it would make enforcement of drug laws difficult.[8]
  • South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley did not support Initiated Measure 13. According to a report by Jackley said, "I do not support it. The reason is based upon, I believe, my history of being a drug prosecutor in western South Dakota and then a U.S. Attorney and now serving as the Attorney General. I've witnessed some of the concerns that come about by the use of marijuana." However, Jackley noted that the 2010 proposed measure was a "better legislation" than the 2006 proposal that was shot down by voters.[11]

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of South Dakota ballot measures, 2010


There were no newspapers in support of Initiated Measure 13.


  • The Argus-Leader (Sioux Falls) opposed Initiated Measure 13. The newspaper's editorial board said that the supporters of Measure 13 did not prove that legalization of medical marijuana would be successful. Also, the Argus-Leader felt that there were not enough safeguards to prevent abuse of who would receive permits to obtain medical marijuna[12].
  • The Daily Republic (Mitchell) said, "As we said four years ago before medical marijuana’s last appearance on a South Dakota ballot: 'Declaring marijuana legal and healthful for certain people is a message that promotes marijuana use, a message that commits doctors to saying it’s OK, and a message to our children that pot must not be so bad after all.' We will not vote in favor of Initiated Measure 13."[13]
  • The Rapid City Journal opposed to Initiated Measure 13. The editorial board of the state's largest newspaper said that the measure lacked safeguards on who would receive cards in order to obtain medical marijuana. The newspaper acknowledged that there were merits for medical marijuana, but remained opposed to any proposal that lacked safeguards[14].

Path to the ballot

See also: South Dakota signature requirements and 2010 ballot measure petition signature costs

Supporters needed 16,776 valid signatures to put the initiated statutory law on the ballot. On January 21, 2010, supporters announced that they had collected approximately 30,000 valid signatures, more than enough to place the proposed measure on the ballot.[15] About 32,000 signatures were filed on February 23, 2010.[16][17]

On Monday, March 15, the secretary of state certified the measure for the 2010 ballot after reporting that the measure had collected sufficient valid signatures.[18][19]

Similar measures

South Dakota Medical Marijuana, Initiative 4 (2006)Defeatedd

See also

Suggest a link


External links

Additional reading


  1. South Dakota Political Almanac, "South Dakota Constitutional Amendments, Initiatives and Referendums 1970-2010," accessed August 28, 2014
  2. South Dakota Secretary of State, "Historical Election Data," accessed August 28, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 South Dakota Secretary of State, "2010 Ballot Question Text," accessed August 28, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  5. South Dakota Secretary of State, "2006 Ballot Question Text," accessed August 28, 2014
  6. KSFY, "Beginning Their Campaign For Medical Marijuana," May 18, 2010 (dead link)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Examiner, "South Dakota Safe Access Act: Medical marijuana certified for November 2010 ballot," March 17, 2010
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Associated Press, "SD group plans campaign for medical marijuana," July 12, 2010
  9. The Collegian, "Measure 13 supporters rally for their cause," September 15, 2010
  10. Associated Press, "SD group starts campaign against medical marijuana," September 10, 2010 (dead link)
  11., "SD Attorney General is against medical marijuana," September 11, 2010
  12. Argus Leader, "Editorial: Our call on other ballot issues," October 29, 2010
  13. The Daily Republic, "Editorial: Legalizing marijuana for some is bad idea," October 19, 2010
  14. Rapid City Journal, "Marijuana measure lacks safeguards," October 26, 2010
  15. Join Together, "Medical Marijuana Advocates Ready to File for S.D. Ballot," January 21, 2010
  16. Keloland, "Medical Marijuana Petition Filed in Pierre," February 23, 2010
  17. KSFY, "South Dakota Voters Could Legalize Medical Marijuana," February 24, 2010 (dead link)
  18. Associated Press, "Marijuana for medical use will be on November ballot," March 17, 2010
  19. The Drug War Chronicle, "Medical Marijuana: South Dakota Initiative Certified, Will Be on the November Ballot," March 19, 2010