Marijuana debate on the table again in South Dakota legislative session
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Debate on marijuana will be on the table again as South Dakota state lawmakers gather for the 2022 legislative session in Pierre this month.
So far, more than two dozen of 38 posted proposed bills for the session deal with medical and recreational marijuana. It’s the second session for legislators since South Dakota voters approved both medical and recreational marijuana in the 2020 election.
The passage of recreational marijuana was legally challenged by Gov. Kristi Noem and was ultimately struck down by the state Supreme Court 4-1. Though the Republican governor opposed marijuana legalization as a social ill, her administration’s arguments in court centered on technical violations to the state constitution.
South Dakota’s medical marijuana program continues to move forward in the state. The first state-issued medical marijuana card was issued to a Day County resident in November. Cities and counties have begun approving licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries, but no cultivation licenses have been granted by the state. More than 20 proposed bills look to revise or repeal specific provisions involving medical cannabis, KELO-TV reported.
Proposed legislation known as Senate Bill 3 would legalize recreational possession of one ounce or less of marijuana by a person 21 or older and reduce other penalties for possession of marijuana by a person 21 or older. Currently, possession of two ounces or less is a class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines.
The bill also lays out penalties for people under 21 who use marijuana or marijuana products.