Despite rejecting cannabis reforms last year, a recent poll conducted by the School of American and Global Studies at South Dakota State University suggests that South Dakota voters are now more open to legalizing cannabis for adult use. In 2020, voters had initially approved similar reforms, but the measure was voided by the state Supreme Court on procedural grounds. Two years later, a similar measure was rejected by voters.
The poll, which included 747 registered South Dakota voters, found that 49% of respondents either “strongly” or “somewhat” supported the reforms, while 41% were “strongly” or “somewhat” opposed. Only 10% of respondents had no opinion.
David Wiltse PhD and Filip Viskupič PhD, authors of ‘The Political Fight Over Recreational Marijuana is Far from Over,’ noted that while South Dakota still trails behind other states in support for legalization, the state is following a national trend of increasing acceptance. They believe that should the issue appear on the ballot again, its passage is within the realm of possibility.
Among the respondents, the majority (52%) of Republicans were strongly opposed, while only 11% were strongly in support of adult-use legalization. Democrats showed higher levels of support, with 42% strongly in favor and only 10% strongly opposed.
Despite this increase in support, there is still a significant divide between political parties. Last year, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, the group behind the previous ballot initiatives, indicated they may try for a third time to put the issue to voters in 2024. It remains to be seen if this will be successful.