Hot button issue gets another shot in South Dakota

south dakota cannabis

Cannabis is legal in some form in most U.S. states, but a full policy shift is still in progress. Voters in South Dakota will have their say come November after it was announced that advocates for Measure 29 gathered enough signatures to qualify for the election ballot.

The initiative would allow adults 21 and over to purchase and possess up to two ounces of cannabis. Home grow would also be permitted, with a plant count limit of six per person and 12 per household in effect.

Community organizers collected roughly 22,558 valid signatures in support of Measure 29, over 5,000 more than required. The legislation is the work of South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, saying in a Tweet that the verification of signatures is the “first step towards reforming South Dakota’s cannabis policy in 2024.”

A ballot measure to legalize adult-use marijuana passed in South Dakota in 2020 but was eventually invalidated by the state Supreme Court due to allegations it violated the state’s single-subject rule. A separate measure to legalize medical marijuana passed that year. Voters rejected another adult-use legalization attempt in 2022.

And while cannabis is widely accepted in modern society, one Republican state lawmaker has been working on two ballot measures to restrict cannabis even further in South Dakota. One would repeal the state’s medical cannabis law, while another would ensure the Mount Rushmore State could never legalize any “federally banned substance.” These measures have yet to get the required signatures for ballot placement.

It remains to be seen whether the adult-use legalization initiative will get enough “Yes” votes come November. However, with federal reform on the horizon and a growing number of people coming out in support of legalization, 2024 may be the year South Dakotans finally free the weed.


rachelle gordon

Rachelle Gordon is a cannabis journalist, Emerald Cup judge, Budist critic, and editor of She began her weed writing journey in 2015 and has been featured in High Times, CannabisNow, Beard Bros, MG, Skunk, and many others. Rachelle currently splits her time between Minneapolis and Oakland; her favorite cannabis cultivars include Silver Haze and Tangie. Follow Rachelle on Instagram @rachellethewriter