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Day of Action calls for support of marijuana measures

Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 5:51 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Supporters of Constitutional Amendment A and Initiated Measure 26 gathered in Aberdeen and cities across South Dakota Wednesday, to raise awareness and register voters.

Initiated Measure 26 would legalize marijuana for medical use in the state, while Amendment A would legalize, regulate, and tax the drug for recreational use. The amendment would also require the state legislature to pass laws for medical marijuana use.

The Day of Action events is a collaboration between New Approach South Dakota and South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, in an effort to raise support for the ballot measures. It’s a cause that Aaron Winterberg and others have been working on for years and now hope to great a push from state residents to pass the measures.

“This is something that’s bringing everyone together in a time of separation, so that’s what great about our message right now,” Winterberg said.

A community coordinator for New Approach South Dakota, he says events like these are more than just pitches for legalizing marijuana, but to connect supporters with one another, and send a message to elected officials.

“We’re reaching out to the people that want these measures. I don’t know about a lot of other people, but I know for myself, I’ve been telling my local legislator for the last six, seven years that this is what we want. The people have been telling Pierre that this is what we want.”

But many organizations in the state oppose the measures, citing health and safety risks. In a statement, the South Dakota State Medical Association says marijuana remains classified by the federal government as a Schedule I drug; meaning there is no accepted medical use and a drug with a high potential for abuse. That’s something that Winterberg disagrees with, saying there are other states with working systems to tax and regulate the drug.

“There’s a working model that’s working in 11 other states right now. And, you know people go to these other states particularly on vacation because that’s where they want to go.”

Winterberg says that by legalizing marijuana, it will create new business opportunities for South Dakotans, as well as raise tax funds for educational and general uses.

“We want to open up South Dakota. We want to open up our economy a little bit better, and just strengthen our economy.”

The deadline to register in the upcoming general election in South Dakota is October 19th.

Copyright 2020 Dakota News Now. All rights reserved.

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