PIERRE, SD — Voters in South Dakota will not have the opportunity to vote on the issue of legalizing medical marijuana in the state following a court ruling Tuesday.
A state court judge denied a request from proponents working to place the measure on the ballot to overturn Secretary of State Shantel Krebs’ finding that the group did submit enough valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot.
The proposal was known as the “South Dakota Medical Marijuana Initiative” and was proposed by the South Dakota Family Coalition for Compassion. Supporters needed to collect 13,870 valid signatures, and although the organization submitted 16,543 signatures to state election officials, nearly half of them were deemed invalid.
The Associated Press reports on Tuesday’s court ruling:
Attorney General Marty Jackley said Tuesday that Circuit Court Judge Mark Barnett’s decision was based on a lack of valid petition signatures.
Secretary of State Shantel Krebs had rejected a challenge from advocates over her evaluation that supporters didn’t turn in enough signatures to get the measure on the ballot.
Sponsor Melissa Mentele’s lawsuit argued that Krebs didn’t send proper notice of the decision. It also says the secretary of state erroneously sampled petition signatures and then improperly performed a second sampling.
The court found that Mentele received proper notice and that she hadn’t proven the petition had enough valid signatures.
South Dakota has twice previously rejected medical marijuana legalization measures at the polls.
A proposed 2006 initiative lost 52%-47%, while a 2010 initiative lost 63%-36%.