SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakotans will get a chance in November to legalize the recreational use of pot.
A proposed amendment to the state constitution that would legalize the drug got the required signatures to appear on the fall ballot, South Dakota Secretary of State Steve Barnett announced late Monday.
The proposal, dubbed Amendment A, will also require the state legislature pass laws regarding hemp and ensure access to marijuana for medical use.
The amendment petition required 33,921 valid signatures to appear on the ballot, and Barnett's said his office found 36,707 valid signatures in a random sample of those submitted.
Under the proposed constitutional amendment, those age 21 or older would be allowed to carry, distribute and use no more than an ounce of marijuana each, as well as related paraphernalia.
The amendment would allow for of-age South Dakotans to grow three marijuana plants each, and no more than six plants per household, only if there is no licensed local retail store for pot.
The amendment would impose a 15% tax on pot sales, with proceeds paying for the state Department of Revenue's costs in implementing the amendment and remaining revenue split between public schools and the state's general fund.
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law and judicial clarification of the amendment may be necessary, said state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, in a note added to explain the ballot measure to voters.
The amendment would legalize some substances currently considered felony controlled substances under current state law, he notes, a likely reference to hemp, which was legalized nationwide in the federal 2018 Farm Bill but remains illegal in South Dakota state law.
The proposed amendment will be the second ballot item about pot for voters' consideration in November. Initiated Measure 26, which would legalized medical marijuana in the state, met the petition signature threshold last month to appear on the ballot.
The South Dakota proposal would authorize medical marijuana for use by patients with chronic or debilitating medical conditions. Patients would be required to get a registration card from the state Department of Health.
They could then possess up to three ounces of marijuana. And if allowed to grow plants, they must possess a minimum of three marijuana plants, or as prescribed by a physician. The maximum number of plants would be set by the state.
The initiative would also allow for medical marijuana cardholders from outside the state.