Push for Medical Marijuana on 2020 Ballot in South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- For years, a South Dakota woman has been fighting to legalize medical marijuana. This time around she’s hopeful it will actually happen, but first she’s got a busy couple of months ahead to get the item in front of voters.

Melissa Mentele is a medical marijuana supporter. She feels strongly about getting it legalized.

“I think it’s important that people have the ability to manage their own healthcare in the way they choose to,” said Mentele. 

Mentele has reflex sympathetic dystrophy, a painful disease that she manages with cannabis. 

“Instead of using pain meds, you can use cannabis, you can use CBD oil, you can use different kinds of tinctures, you can use pain patches,” said Mentele. 

“And then for children with seizures, we’re seeing really amazing results with cannabis with them, cancer patients. It’s just offering something that’s non-toxic, isn’t going to create an addiction.”

Last week, her advocacy group ‘New Approach South Dakota’ began circulating petitions for registered South Dakota voters to sign. They must get at least 17,000 signatures by November 4th for her initiated measure to go on the 2020 ballot. 

“We have a really nice and comprehensive bill that covers our patients in South Dakota. We covered everything in it from every issue that’s ever popped up in any state,” said Mentele.

This is the third time Mentele has tried to get medical marijuana on the ballot. She says she won’t stop until it’s legalized. 

“We made a promise when we started this to a family with a little boy that has seizures that we weren’t going to stop until they had access and they didn’t have to leave the state to treat them and we’re going to keep the promise. We are going to keep it for the residents of South Dakota,” said Mentele. 

So far, 500 people are interested in volunteering to collect signatures on the petition.  Around 1,000 South Dakotans have already signed it.

For more information check out the ‘New Approach South Dakota’ Facebook page or website.

 

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