Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

June 5, 2017

2018 Ballot Initiative Resource Guide

Have you recently been asked to sign a petition, but weren't exactly sure what it was about? Read our brief summaries of the current ballot measures below to ensure that you're in the know!

The South Dakota Secretary of State has posted the potential 2018 ballot questions. Sponsors of ballot measures need to collect 13,871 petition signatures by November 6, 2017 in order for the question to be on the ballot for the general November 2018 election.

2018 Ballot Measures

An initiated measure authorizing a South Dakota-licensed physician to prescribe drugs that a terminally ill patient may take for the purpose of ending life:  This initiated measure, entitled the Death with Dignity Act, would allow physicians licensed within the State of South Dakota to prescribe drugs to terminally-ill patients for the purpose of ending their lives. Patients would be required to have a terminal illness that is likely to result in death within six months. The patient must be a South Dakota resident and is required to self-administer the life-ending drugs.

Terminally ill patients must make two verbal requests to their physician 15 days apart. Before the requests are made, the patient must be determined to be mentally-competent, and making a voluntary, informed decision. The patient is also required to make a request in writing with two witnesses present. The requests may be withdrawn at any point in time.

Physicians are required to inform patients of their medical diagnosis, including probable prognosis and alternative methods of care including palliative and hospice care. The diagnosis must also be confirmed by a second physician, who must also consult with the patient and confirm their decision. Physicians would not be required to participate in the provisions allowed by this measure.

An initiated measure to legalize certain amounts of marijuana, drugs made from marijuana, and drug paraphernalia, and to regulate and tax marijuana establishments: The proposed measure would legalize the possession; growth and cultivation, purchase, transport and distribution of marijuana and drugs made from marijuana. The measure would also legalize the possession of drug paraphernalia for individuals over the age of 21.

Additionally, the measure allows local jurisdictions and the South Dakota Department of Revenue to regulate businesses selling marijuana and imposes an excise tax for cultivation facilities for sales to other establishments. The measure would bar state officials from seizing assets from individuals involved in marijuana manufacturing, possession, transportation and trafficking the drug in certain amounts.

The Attorney General’s statement of this measure notes that many of its provisions would remain illegal both under state and federal law, and may even be found unconstitutional under state law. The  statement also concludes that additional clarification by the judiciary or legislature may be required.

An initiated measure to legalize marijuana for medical use: This initiated measure would allow for the medical use. In order to use marijuana for medical purposes, patients must have debilitating medical conditions, as determined by a medical practitioners. Patients must also receive a registration card issued by the South Dakota Department of Health. Patients who are not South Dakota residents may use their respective state’s registration cards.

Under the measure, marijuana dispensaries, testing, manufacturing and cultivation facilities would be legalized for the purposes of medical marijuana use. Three ounces of marijuana would be allowed, along with a minimum (not maximum) of six marijuana plants for cultivation by medical marijuana cardholders. Other quantities may be determined by the South Dakota Department of Health.

Pending 2018 Ballot Measures

Summaries of the ballot measures below will become available as their final versions are submitted to the South Dakota Attorney General. Preview the state’s summaries below for more information on each initiated measure.

For more information on voting in South Dakota, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network's voter resource guide

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