South Dakota marijuana backers push 2 ballot measures

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PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - Supporters of legalizing marijuana in South Dakota have been thwarted at nearly every turn, including an effort to become the 48th state to approve industrial hemp. Now they're doubling down on their efforts.

Backers are gathering signatures for two initiated ballot measures. One asks voters to approve medical marijuana and the other seeking to legalize recreational marijuana. A similar effort to get on the 2018 ballot failed to get enough signatures.

New Approach South Dakota is a volunteer group sponsoring the medical measure. Group leader Melissa Mentele says attitudes have changed about benefits for patients and sponsors have more support from national groups.

Republican Gov. Kristi Noem says she doesn't take public positions on ballot initiatives but that she supports South Dakota's strict cannabis laws .

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