• September 2020

Board adopts position on two ballot measures

By Debra Owen
Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce

The November 2nd general election is upon us, even though it less than two months away. The onslaught of political messaging between now and November can make voting decisions overwhelming.

...the Chamber
provides in-depth
analysis on each of
the ballot measures

Here is some good news. Your Chamber membership provides you with insight and analysis on legislators’ voting records in Pierre through the Chamber’s scorecard which can be acquired through the advocacy tab at siouxfallschamber.com. In addition, the Chamber provides in-depth analysis on each of the ballot measures along with the Chamber’s position on them. Two of the ballot measures you will be asked to vote on this year focus on the legalization of marijuana and the third ballot measure is a proposal to legalize sports betting at Deadwood and on tribal lands.

Over the last few months, the Chamber’s Issues Management Council (IMC) and the Board of Directors have studied both ballot measures seeking to legalize marijuana in South Dakota. Initiated Measure 26 (IM-26) would legalize medical marijuana use. Constitutional Amendment A (CA-A) would legalize the recreational use of marijuana. IMC’s process of evaluation includes listening to subject matter experts on both sides of each ballot measure prior to making a recommendation to the Board. The Board is the ultimate determiner on the Chamber position of whether to support, oppose or remain neutral on each ballot measure.

After review of IM-26, the Chamber has chosen to remain neutral on the legalization of medical use of marijuana by qualifying patients, including minors. The Chamber made the decision to support a neutral position primarily because IM-26 balanced employer rights for drug-free workplaces and for property owners. There was also concern about stepping in between patients and their physicians when managing medical care. To learn more about IM-26, the Chamber has an Issue Brief available under the advocacy tab at siouxfallschamber.com.

After reviewing CA-A, the Chamber has taken a position to oppose this measure. This constitutional amendment legalizes the possession, use, transport and distribution of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia by people age 21 and older. One of the primary reasons for opposing CA-A are the consequences of legalizing recreational marijuana in our state’s constitution rather than state law. To change our state’s constitution is a slow arduous task and must be done through a vote of the people. Secondly, the Chamber is concerned about the workforce and business ramifications legalizing recreational marijuana. Employers already struggle to retain a reliable workforce and legalizing marijuana would further complicate this issue. In addition, and unlike alcohol, there is no standard of what constitutes impairment, which creates a challenging human resource and legal environment for employers. To learn more about CA-A, the Chamber has an Issue Brief available under the advocacy tab at siouxfallschamber.com.

Note: The Chamber was in the process of evaluating the Constitutional amendment to legalize sports betting for Deadwood and the tribal communities prior to this issue of Chamber News going to print. You can find the Chamber’s position on CA-B under the advocacy tab at siouxfallschamber.com.

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