Groups backing legal marijuana in South Dakota have big money advantage, mostly from one PAC


Supporters have raised and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to convince voters to mark yes on two marijuana-legalization questions on South Dakota’s general-election ballot. Opponents meanwhile raised about one-fifth of that amount trying to get voters to mark no.

Marijuana currently is illegal to use or possess in South Dakota. Constitutional Amendment A would legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older and charge a 15% state tax. Initiated Measure 26 would legalize medical marijuana. The campaign-finance reports for the supporters, covering the period of May 17 through October 14, show:

South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, a Sioux Falls-based committee, received $580,278. That included $435,000 from the New Approach political action committee, based in Washington, D.C., as well as $75,000 from Justin Johnson of Sioux Falls, $50,000 from Richard J. Steves Jr. of Edmonds, Washington, and $12,000 from Pam Sands of Sioux Falls;

New Approach South Dakota Medical Cannabis, based in Emery, received $46,992, including $41,320 from the federal New Approach PAC.

The main opposition comes from the No Way On A ballot-question committee that was organized July 7 by David Owen, president for the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry. [Read more at Keloland]