Draft Explanation Released to Legalize Recreational Marijuana in South Dakota

PIERRE, S.D. – An explanation for a draft initiated measure, proposed by Emmett Reistroffer of Rapid City, that would legalize recreational marijuana and create dual-use licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries, has been submitted for public review by the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office.

Attorney General Marty Jackley takes no position on any such proposal for purposes of the ballot explanation. He has provided a fair and neutral explanation on the initiated measure to help assist the voters.

This proposed initiated measure would allow individuals 21 years old or older to possess, grow, sell, ingest, and distribute marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia. The initiated measure does not affect laws dealing with hemp.  The measure also authorizes the South Dakota Department of Health to issue dual-use licenses to medical marijuana dispensaries.  A dual-use license allows dispensaries to sell marijuana to persons 21 years or older.

The ballot explanation can be found here.

State law requires the Attorney General draft a title and explanation for each initiated measure, initiated constitutional amendment, constitutional amendment proposed by the Legislature, or referred measure that may appear on an election ballot. The Attorney General’s explanation is meant to be an “objective, clear, and simple summary” intended to “educate the voters of the purpose and effect of the proposed” measure, as well as identify the “legal consequences” of each measure.

Once the Attorney General has filed and posted the draft explanation, the public has 10 days to provide written comment. The explanation was filed Nov. 17, 2023 (Friday), and the deadline for comments on this explanation is Nov. 27, 2023 at the close of business in Pierre, South Dakota. The final explanation is due to the Secretary of State on Dec. 7, 2023.

The initiated measure would require 17,509 valid petition signatures to qualify for the 2024 general election ballot.

To file written comments on a draft Attorney General’s explanation please use one of the following methods below. Copies of all received comments will be posted on this website. https://atg.sd.gov/Legal/ballotexplanations.aspx#gsc.tab=0

Comments may be submitted via mail, or through hand delivery, to the Attorney General’s Office at:

Office of the Attorney General
Ballot Comment
1302 E. Hwy. 14, Suite 1
Pierre, SD 57501

Comments that are hand delivered must be received by the close of business in Pierre, South Dakota, by Nov. 27, 2023.  The Attorney General’s Office will be closed Nov. 23-24 for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Comments that are mailed must be received by the Attorney General’s Office before the deadline expires to be accepted.

Comments may also be emailed to ATGballotcomments@state.sd.us by Nov. 27, 2023.  Comments should be clearly expressed in the body of the email. The Attorney General’s Office will not open attachments in an effort to prevent malware or other digital threats. Please include your name and contact information when submitting your comment. The title of the comment must be included in the subject line of the email.