South Dakota group petitions for marijuana vote
South Dakota: The South Dakota Legislature might have decided against legalized marijuana in 2009 but for the South Dakota Coalition for Compassion, South Dakotans for Safe Access and marijuana supporters say that isn't the end of the issue. This year the groups began circulating a petition in an attempt to gather enough signatures to bring the legalization of marijuana to the November ballot in 2010. The proposal specifically calls for the legalization of marijuana for people with cancer and other diseases.
The groups are comprised of doctors, some law enforcement and volunteers. In order to qualify the petition for the ballot, supporters are required to gather at least 17,000 signatures. It is reported that to date they have collected a total of 5,000 signatures. They have until April 2010 to collect enough signatures.
“They're simply asking for protection from the state because right now, our law wants to send them to prison and they're not criminals. They're just seeking relief,” said Emmett Reistroffer, an initiative supporter. Others, however, disagree with the group and Reistroffer's proposal. Opponents argue that should the proposal be voted into law it would only cause more problems for law enforcement.
In 2006, a similar medical marijuana measure failed to pass. South Dakota voters rejected the proposal by 52.3%. Previously, in 2002, voters voted on the legalization of hemp, that also failed to pass. Should voters change the trend by voting in favor of the proposed 2010 measure, South Dakota would join 14 other states in having some form of legalized marijuana.
- Marijuana ballot measures
- South Dakota signature requirements
- Laws governing the initiative process in South Dakota