South Dakota: Opposition Group’s Polling Shows Voter Support for Marijuana Legalization Initiatives

Pierre, South Dakota: Statewide polling data commissioned by a marijuana opposition group shows voter support for a pair of 2020 cannabis legalization ballot measures.

According to the survey results, some 70 percent of respondents back Initiative Measure 26 — which establishes a medical cannabis access program in South Dakota — and some 60 percent of voters support Constitutional Amendment A, which legalizes the adult-use marijuana market.

The polling data was compiled by the right-leaning Public Opinion Strategies group, and was paid for by the campaign committee No Way on A. According to the Argus Leader newspaper, No Way on A is organized by the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Under state law, the possession of any amount of marijuana is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, a $2,000 fine, and a criminal record. In 2018, an estimated one out of every ten arrests made in the state was marijuana-related, according to data compiled by the group South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws. Ninety-five percent of all cannabis arrests in South Dakota were for possession. According to an analysis of marijuana arrest data compiled by the ACLU, Black Americans in South Dakota are five times more likely than whites to be arrested for possessing cannabis.

Both statewide measures are opposed by South Dakota’s Republican Gov. Kristi Noem.

Voters in Arizona, Montana, and New Jersey, will also decide on adult-use legalization ballot initiatives on Election Day, while voters in Mississippi will decide between two dueling measures specific to regulating medical cannabis use.

For more information, contact Carly Wolf, NORML States Policies Coordinato or visit NORML’s Election Hub.