Pro- and anti-recreational cannabis campaigns in full swing as new field office opens in Rapid City

The Early evening news on KOTA Territory TV
Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 6:26 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - One of the most hotly contested races in the midterm elections in the state is the legalization of recreational cannabis.

After a new polling suggests that voters may not be as enthusiastic about passing it as they were two years ago, the campaigns on both sides of the issue are gearing up for a bruising fight.

The campaign to legalize recreational marijuana is expanding its operation, opening up a new field office in Rapid City ahead of this November’s midterm elections.

The office is in the same North Street location as the IM 27 petition drive held in April.

Matthew Schweich, campaign manager for Yes on 27, said that the group is excited to use the facility to give out yard signs, and get people registered to vote.

“We want to get volunteers in here to do training, we’ll do phone bank training where people can sit here and make those calls in the office,” Schweich said. “We’ll do the same thing with canvassing training, bringing people in, and talking them through knocking on doors, talking to voters, and doing registration forms.”

Another organization coming out in full support of the measure is Genesis Farms, which is already distributing medical cannabis after it’s passage two years ago.

Manager Emmett Reistroffer said that the medical cannabis rollout has been smooth, and expects the same for recreational.

“We don’t think anybody should be punished for using cannabis responsibly as an adult,” Reistroffer said. “So, Measure 27 seems like the logical step forward that most states across the country have decided to do after having medical first.”

However, not everyone shares the enthusiasm for the precedent that other states have set.

Protecting South Dakota Kids is the oppositional campaign against the legalization of recreational cannabis.

Chairman Jim Kinyon said that the organization is working with a lot less in their fight to keep recreational marijuana out of South Dakota.

“There’s a whole coalition, there’s groups coming together, and all we are, are moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, mental health professionals, law enforcement, people doing a wide range of things coming together to say no,” Kinyon said.

A recent poll from South Dakota News Watch shows that more than 54% of respondents oppose cannabis legalization, but advocates say those results don’t line up with the levels of support that they’ve been seeing.

The election is November 8th.