South Dakota to Legalize Cannabis for Real this Time

South Dakota legislators are formally advocating that the government take up a measure to legalize cannabis amid the 2022 session. This occurs as cannabis activists pursue a separate cannabis reform initiative for the 2022 South Dakota ballot. The South Dakota Supreme Court proceeds to reexamine the constitutionality of a 2020 voter-approved cannabis legalization legislation. Say that three times fast.

The measure from SD lawmakers is one of a litany of cannabis reform measures that a Cannabis Interim Study Committee was employed with reviewing. In October, the measure cleared the committee before being presented to the South Dakota Legislature’s Executive Board. The Board is headed by the South Dakota House Speaker and Senate chairman pro tempore. Last Wednesday, the measure universally approved the full report in an astonishing 12-0 tally.

During the 2022 South Dakota session, Senator Bryan Breitling (R-SD) stated the bill would see a couple of adult-use cannabis legalization measures and 23 proposals linked to the South Dakota medical cannabis program.

Prior to the total committee vote back in October, a subcommittee exclusively charged with looking into recreational legalization advanced a prototype of one of the cannabis reform bills.

In the preparation of this latest development, the South Dakota Supreme Court is proceeding to consider a discussion of the constitutionality of an earlier cannabis legalization measure that voters pushed forward in 2020. However, the measure was later challenged with a lawsuit subsidized by the administration of Governor Kristi Noem (R).

During this time, cannabis activists are collecting gathering signatures for a different cannabis legalization proposal that they expect to put before South Dakota voters on the 2022 ballot. South Dakotans for Better Cannabis Laws, also known as SDBML, intended to turn in the minimum amount of names by the initial early November deadline. However, that mission was not successful. SDBML expects a South Dakota Courts of Appeal Judge to overturn the ruling. If successful, this would allow them to gather signatures until early May 2022.

The group stated it might terminate signature-gathering if the South Dakota legislature passes comprehensive cannabis reform or the Supreme Court supports the voter-approved cannabis initiative.

‘It’s encouraging that the South Dakota recreational legalization measure is moving along the in the process,’ Matthew Schweich, executive of SDBML, summarily told a cannabis outlet. ‘It’s not a perfect measure. However,  it’s good to see that government is serious about passing [cannabis] legalization.’

He appended that ‘our goal is not to perform another SD ballot drive—it’s not mandatory. Schweich stated the more favorable outcome would be either a desirable court ruling or the legislature enacting cannabis legalization under its own autonomy. ‘We’re not in this for the fame. We just want an outcome that is cohesive with the will of voters in the state.’

As outlined, the current account of the measure approved in the South Dakota committee and by the executive board would permit adults 21 and older to buy and possess up to 28 grams of cannabis. The South Dakota Department of Revenue would be liable for governing the cannabis market and distributing cannabis business licenses.

Unlike the cannabis legalization initiatives that South Dakota voters approved last year, the draft measure would not provide a home-grow option for adult cultivators. Cannabis cultivation for retail sales could only be grown indoors.

Cannabis advocates stated that it’s crucial to continue to stalk their ballot initiative for 2022 due to the ongoing contingencies in the South Dakota courts and authority.

SDBML had initially been put forth four proposed cannabis legalization actions in the event of an adverse ruling by the South Dakota court. Still, they eventually decided to try just one.

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