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South Dakota Voters To Decide Medical Cannabis Issue This Fall

LdyLunatic

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Pierre, SD: South Dakota election officials have confirmed that a statewide initiative that seeks to exempt authorized medicinal cannabis patients from state criminal penalties will appear on the November 2006 ballot.

Initiated Measure 4, sponsored by South Dakotans for Safe Access, would allow state-qualified patients to possess up to six plants and/or one ounce of cannabis for medical purposes. Qualified patients must possess a physician's recommendation to use cannabis and must register with the state Department of Health. Non-registered patients, or those who possess greater quantities of cannabis than allowed under state law, would have the option of raising an 'affirmative defense' of medical necessity at trial.

Eleven states - Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington have enacted similar laws. Eight of these did so by voter initiative.

A 2002 Lucas Organization poll of state voters found that that 64 percent of South Dakotans support allowing patients to use cannabis medicinally when recommended by their physician.
 

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