As one looks back at all of the Public Votes regarding Marijuana, it is clearly evident, South Dakotans have voted countless times, voted not to legalize Marijuana by large majorities.
  • The first vote occurred in 2002, whereas groups were trying to simply legalize Industrial Hemp and to allow for the cultivation of marijuana, which failed when 62% of the voters said NO.
  • Then in 2006 – groups made a second attempt to legalize marijuana with a direct vote, and again the voters said NO by a majority vote of 52%;
  • And again in 2010, groups made an attempt to legalize marijuana for people with specific medical conditions, and again, the voters clearly said NO by a large majority of 63%.
Three public votes, and clearly, a strong majority of the “State” clearly said NO to Marijuana, and that leads us to the 2020 vote involving two distinct concepts:
Amendment A would have made it a constitutional provisoin to allow for using Marijuana for both Recreation and Medical Use;
And then, there was I.M 26 which would simply permit a small faction of citizens the right to use marijuana for clear medical use, so long as the citizen got the ok from a South Dakota Licensed doctor, upon examination of documented evidence, and a strict control of the marijuana industry. How did the ‘voters’ vote this time?
Placing these two initiatives on the ballot side by side, was an attempt to deceive and confuse the voter, and it worked.
Despite the fact that voters did approve of Amendment A, a clear opinion of the population can be revealed as we look closely at the county-by-county statewide vote on the matter:
  • In the Forty-One Counties of which voted collectively not to legalize Marijuana, the results showed that 60% of all voters who showed up, voted against legalization of Marijuana in its entirety within those counties.
  • While in contrast, on the matter of Medical Marijuana, allowing a small, select few citizens the permission to utilize marijuana for medical purposes, 67.3% of the counties collectively voted to approve of the measure.
South Dakotans seem to be very complex on the issue of Marijuana itself – on one hand, they approve of using it as a ‘medical drug’, but on the other hand, they disapprove of allowing it to be fully legal.
Where do we stand today, according to the South Dakota Secretary of State, there are 587,037 registered voters in the state, of which 132,849 registered voters reside within the 41 counties of which all voted against Amendment A a few years ago.
To compare that to the six most populated counties of the State – Minnehaha 128,355 voters, Pennington 84,479 voters, Lincoln 43,075 voters, Brown 24,362 voters, Brookings 19,900 voters, and Codington 17,456 voters, clearly – of the twenty-one counties who all voted “yes” on Amendment A, they have a clear and present majority of registered voters @ 454,188.
It does not take a scientist to determine where many of the Petitioned Signatures derive from during petition drives, to get ballot questions onto the ballot ahead of an election.
If history can provide any evidence as to how many ‘voters’ will show up in November of 2022, we can predict at least 62.5% of the voters, or 366,898 will vote in the Midterm Elections.
A far greater percentage of voters clearly show up to vote in the rural counties, that is obvious by the closeness of that ‘vote’ during the 2020 results on Amendment A, cause in 21 Counties, of which most likely support full legalization of marijuana, they have the numbers, but practically got out voted by the other 45 Counties, which kept the results as close as they ended up.
Knowing that in those 45 counties, 60% of all voters who did vote, all voted No on Amendment A, while in the 21 counties who voted in favor of Amendment A, that popular vote was at 57% per county.
  1. In relation to Amendment A, in 38 Counties, the voters overwhelmingly said no 70% of the time;
  2. In Relation to Amendment A, in only 13 Counties, the voters overwhelmingly voted yes 70% of the time;
  3. In relation to Amendment A, the balance of 14 Counties, that popular vote was merely 50-50 with giving slightly an edge to counties of which said “No”.
The “swing counties” on the issue of Marijuana tend to be Codington, Fall River, Hughes, Lake County, Lyman, Meade, Moody, Beadle, Day, and Jackson – all of which the results were more 50-50.
But, when given the chance to ‘expand’ and loosen regulations concerning “Medical Marijuana”, the voters in Meade County may have shown that South Dakotans are clearly NOT in favor of legalizing Marijuana fully.
On August 30th, 2021 – the voters went to the polls, voting 1,426 to 719 against to not expand upon the number of establishments, let alone the changes to distance between them. A total number of 2,145 ballots were requested, and received, of which the number of registered voters within the county as reported by the South Dakota Secretary of State as of August 1st, was 19,610 of which shows a 10.9% voter turnout on the issue itself.
The Meade County Vote may present a clear and present opinion of how the majority of the citizens of the State may feel regarding the topic of Marijuana itself.
Whether you support full legalization or not, what is clearly evident, that there seems to be a stark contrast in full legalization versus simply permitting people to use the plant for medical purposes.
While 54% of the voters approved of Amendment A back in 2020, what is evident, is when you analyze the county vote, nearly 62.1% of all 66 South Dakota Counties overwhelmingly voted against adopting Amendment A.
So where do we stand in relation to I.M 27 on this year’s November 8, 2022 regarding the full, recreational use of Marijuana – if history has anything to say about it, the overall “population” of South Dakota will overwhelmingly vote NO by large majority to say NO to “recreational use” of Marijuana.
While ‘we’ have agreed to allow marijuana to be used as a “medical drug”, South Dakotans appear to be weary of allowing the “recreational use” over a state-wide basis.
While ‘we’ have history on our side, that a large base of our statewide population says NO to Marijuana, the results of the 2020 Amendment A topic of Marijuana may present strong evidence that South Dakotans are very perplexed, and mixed in their political views on marijuana itself –
Amendment A provided a bag of worms per-say, it shown that citizens may be fine with Medical Use, but on recreation, they reserve to themselves, the right to ban recreational use within the State itself.
Of the 5 Separate Votes held over the past twenty years considering Marijuana – it is clearly evident, a minimum of 52% of the ‘voters’ have repeatedly voted NO to recreational use, but have since said yes to Medical Use.
How will South Dakotans vote in 2022? Well, history is on the side of the citizens saying NO to recreational use.
If we were to take a best guess, based on how many voters show up during Mid-Term Elections, we can predict by history, Initiative Measure 27 will fail by a public vote of 198,125 (no votes) to 168,773 (yes votes). That would mean, we are predicting 54% of South Dakota voters will say “NO” to I.M 27 in 2022.
What keeps South Dakotans so divided on the topic of Marijuana?
Could it be as simple as Rural vs Urban issue?
Could it be a Crime Related issue, or could it simply be a matter of personal preference, or difference in political opinions considering recreational marijuana, perhaps even Health and Safety of our Communities…
So, why not as the Butte County Voters attempt to bring the issue of Medical Marijuana back for a second vote during the 2024 Election, why not attempt to clarify what the voters think…
Knowing the ‘results’ of the 2022 Election, as predicted, the ‘voters’ are clearly not in favor of full legalization, and because of that fact, today ‘we’ must reconsider the effects of S.D.C.L 34-20G is having on our Counties, our Local Governments, our Personal Beliefs.
If the so called “Marijuana Faithful” that they are correct, why do they get so bent out of shape anytime people in a few counties wish to place the question on a future ballot for a second time?
Written by:
Mike Zitterich
Sioux Falls Community Chronicle
(Independent Journalism)