Anticipation in marijuana legalization polls shows certainty

Out of 500 registered voters in July 43.8 percent of respondents supported legalizing recreational marijuana and 54.4 percent opposed it.

In 2020 voters passed Constitutional Amendment A, which  have legalized recreational marijuana, but the measure was overturned by the courts and never took effect.

In late July, a statewide the poll was conducted which resulted in support for legalizing recreational marijuana for adult use in South Dakota; which has been withered  in the past two years and also appears to infer that a referendum on legalization in November could fail.

Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy of Florida conducted the  from July 19-22, authorized by South Dakota News Watch and the Chiesman Center for Democracy at the University of South Dakota. Respondents were appointed randomly as representative of South Dakota voters overall in terms of age, gender, geographic location and political party. Respondents were invited orally.

Supporters of legalization suspected the poll results and indicated the prior poll; the 2020 ballot measure to legalize adult use of recreational marijuana both indicated steady support for legalization.

However, population showed highest level of support in 2020 statewide vote on Constitutional Amendment A. Of the seven state Senate districts that comprise the Sioux Falls area, District 15 had the highest percentage of voters supporting Amendment A, with 72.7 percent in favor, and no district reporting lower than 57 percent support for legalization.

South Dakota is in the early grades of implementing its medical marijuana program, which was approved by 70 percent of voters who supported Initiated Measure 26 in November 2020. Marijuana for medical use became available in the state this summer.

Also the voters in 2020 election also endorsed Constitutional Amendment A, which legalized recreational marijuana for adult use, with a margin of 54 percent in favor to 46 percent opposed, a difference of about 35,000 votes.

The subsequent legal challenge

Supported by Gov. Kristi Noem — led first a circuit judge and then the state Supreme Court in November 2021 to overturn the ballot measure, with justices finding Amendment A too broad.

Supporters of IM 27 say it is more limited in scope than Amendment A, dropping references to medical marijuana and hemp, and avoiding language about taxation, licensing and local regulation of marijuana, potentially making it more resistant to court challenges should it pass.

As of mid-2022, 19 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana for adult use. Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012 — Montana is the only state bordering South Dakota where recreational marijuIt a too broad.

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