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South Dakota moves closer to medical marijuana implementation

In less than 12 weeks, medical marijuana should be legal in South Dakota.
In less than 12 weeks, medical marijuana should be legal in South Dakota.
In less than 12 weeks, medical marijuana should be legal in South Dakota.(Miranda O'Bryan)
Published: Apr. 20, 2021 at 6:05 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - In less than 12 weeks, medical marijuana should be legal in South Dakota.

After years of working to get marijuana on the South Dakota ballot, voters said yes to both medical and recreational marijuana last November.

“It took six years to get here but here we are and July 1st implementation so patients will finally have protections and I think it’s really important for people to understand that we may not have legal sales right away July one but those patient protections do go into effect and so finally we are from felony to freedom in South Dakota,” said Melissa Mentele, executive director of New Approach South Dakota.

From felony to freedom, for medical marijuana that is. But when it comes to recreational, a lawsuit filed by Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom and Colonel Rick Miller of the State Highway Patrol has moved from the circuit courts to the South Dakota Supreme Court.

“The Supreme Court, I think we have a better chance than we did at the circuit level,” said Mentele. “Just for the simple fact that there was some influence given there and we have a powerful governor and she wields that power as needed. Hopefully, as we go through this court case, we will see a truly nonbiased opinion and the law being followed.”

The court case is set for next week, April 28, and supporters of legalized marijuana are hopeful, saying it’s what South Dakotans want.

“We voted yes pretty overwhelmingly,” said Mentele. “And I think that’s important for people to recognize our state is ready.”

There is still the possibility of a special legislative session that could further discuss marijuana in the state and potentially iron out details.

A date for that session has not been set, however.

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