South Dakota voters reject legalization of recreational marijuana

(AP) – Voters approved recreational marijuana in Maryland and Missouri and rejected it in Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota.

South Dakotans, including a large number of Republicans, voted to legalize marijuana possession in 2020, but the law was partially overturned by the state Supreme Court because the proposal included medical marijuana and hemp. This year, the entertainment pot stood on its own and went before the voters.

Advocates for legalizing pot in South Dakota vowed to try again in two years after their measure failed. Matt Schweich, who ran the state’s legalization campaigns in 2020 and this year, noted that midterm voters are less receptive and argued that pot legalization will eventually happen.

But opponents hoped the proposal’s defeat sent a message.

“I’d like to think this country is coming back and South Dakota is setting a good example,” said Rhonda Milstead, a Republican lawmaker who helped organize the opposition campaign.

In Colorado, where recreational marijuana has been legal for nearly a decade, voters on Tuesday passed a proposal that would allow the use of some psychedelic substances. If approved, it would make Colorado the second state to take such action. Voting for Wednesday’s first draft was too early.

Melody Finley, a Republican in Little Rock, Arkansas, said she voted for the state’s legalization because she thinks it could help some people in certain circumstances.

“If you’re going to buy booze, you might as well buy it,” said Finley, 47, a dance instructor.

But Rick Huffman, a selectman in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, voted against the state’s legalization proposal two years after supporting recreational marijuana on South Dakota’s 2020 ballot.

“I have a child who is now a teenager,” she said. “So I think it will happen eventually, but maybe I’ll wait until my kids are grown.”

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