Organization fights to get recreational marijuana back on the ballot

South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws is out collecting signatures at 230 E. North Street in Rapid City
The late evening news on KEVN Black Hills Fox Saturday
Published: Apr. 16, 2022 at 3:34 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - An organization is making an effort to get recreational marijuana back on the ballot by collecting signatures from people around the state.

In Rapid City, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws is convening at Genesis Farms off of E. North Street through the weekend and holding a drive-thru petition event.

“I don’t think it makes sense to waste law enforcement time and resources arresting people for cannabis,” says Matthew Schweich, Campaign Director. “I think that so long as alcohol is legal, cannabis should be legal.”

Armed with pen and paper, they’re in search of signatures to support their initiative. Schweich says it’s as simple as “you can just pull up in your car, we’ll check your voter registration. You don’t even have to get out of your seat.”

He believes the will of the voters should be respected after voters approved Amendment A, the legalization of recreational marijuana, back in 2020, but “it was thrown out after a lawsuit that was led by Governor Noem, and a Supreme Court ruling that I think was deeply flawed. So, we’re going to put this initiative back on the ballot and let the people decide. An opportunity to restore a law that was unjustly taken from them.”

They’re looking for one thousand signatures during the drive thru event that’s running through the weekend, and they’re sitting at a few hundred as of Saturday afternoon.

“We can’t take our foot off the gas,” Schweich says, “and we need people to know you can’t just assume other people are going to sign. That’s not how this works. That’s not how we passed Amendment A. It’s not how we passed IM 26. It’s not how we defended IM 26 last year, and this year when politicians tried to erode the medical law approved by 70-percent of voters. Every step of the way it’s been about people taking action. You’ve got to come down here and sign.”

He says they’re taking signatures through the end of the month, where they’ll deliver them to the Secretary of States Office, “and they will evaluate them. They will determine whether we qualify for the ballot. We trust the process.”

The drive thru event located at 230 E. North Street will continue through 7:00 p.m. Sunday.

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