South Dakota Medical Marijuana, Initiative 13 (2010)

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The South Dakota Medical Marijuana Act, Initiated Measure 13 appeared on the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot in South Dakota as an initiated state statute where it was defeated.

The proposed measure called for the legalization of medical marijuana. Patients and/or their caregivers would have been allowed to possess up to 6 plants and 1 ounce of marijuana at a time.[1][2]

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results
Initiated Measure 13 (Medical Marijuana)
Defeatedd No199,55263.31%
Yes 115,667 36.69%

Source: South Dakota Secretary of State. Results were certified by the Secretary of State on November 9, 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.[3]
A vote “Yes” is for legalizing marijuana for registrants and designees.
A vote “No” is against the proposed law.


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 52.3% vote against the proposed measure. The 2006 South Dakota Medical Marijuana Measure 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."[4]


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.[5] 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 cirminal 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."[6]
  • 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."[6]


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.[7]

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 plan to hire field workers, recruit volunteers to explain the measure to voters, register voters and advertise on television and radio.[7]
  • 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.[8]


In September 2010, "Vote No on 13" launched the campaign against Initiated Measure 13. Organizations in opposition to the proposed measure included medial 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.[9]


  • 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.[7]
  • 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.[10]

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[11].
  • The Daily Republic (Mitchell) opposed Initiated Measure 13. In an editorial, the board 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."[12]
  • 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[13].

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.[14] About 32,000 signatures were filed on February 23, 2010.[15][16]

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.[17][18]

See also

Suggest a link

Related measures

Defeatedd South Dakota Medical Marijuana Measure (2006)


External links

Campaign links

Additional reading


  1. South Dakotans for Safe Access,"South Dakota Medical Marijuana Act, 2010," accessed November 18, 2009
  2. Opposing Views,"Medical Marijuana Qualifies for Nov. Ballot in South Dakota," March 17, 2010
  3. 3.0 3.1 South Dakota Secretary of State,"Attorney General explanation - Initiated Measure 13," accessed May 17, 2010
  4. South Dakota Secretary of State,"Text of Initiative Petition 2006 medical marijuana measure," accessed February 25, 2010
  5. KSFY,"Beginning Their Campaign For Medical Marijuana," May 18, 2010
  6. 6.0 6.1 Examiner,"South Dakota Safe Access Act: Medical marijuana certified for November 2010 ballot," March 17, 2010
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Associated Press,"SD group plans campaign for medical marijuana," July 12, 2010
  8. The Collegian,"Measure 13 supporters rally for their cause," September 15, 2010
  9. Associated Press,"SD group starts campaign against medical marijuana," September 10, 2010
  10.,"SD Attorney General is against medical marijuana," September 11, 2010
  11. Argus Leader, "Editorial: Our call on other ballot issues," October 29, 2010
  12. The Daily Republic, "Editorial: Legalizing marijuana for some is bad idea," October 19, 2010
  13. Rapid City Journal, "Marijuana measure lacks safeguards," October 26, 2010
  14. Join Together,"Medical Marijuana Advocates Ready to File for S.D. Ballot," January 21, 2010
  15. Keloland,"Medical Marijuana Petition Filed in Pierre," February 23, 2010
  16. KSFY,"South Dakota Voters Could Legalize Medical Marijuana," February 24, 2010
  17. Associated Press,"Marijuana for medical use will be on November ballot," March 17, 2010
  18. The Drug War Chronicle,"Medical Marijuana: South Dakota Initiative Certified, Will Be on the November Ballot," March 19, 2010