Potential recreational marijuana legislation under review for 2022 ballot

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 2:15 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - A marijuana summer study committee has been working on legislation to legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana. It’s an issue that could potentially be back on the ballot for South Dakotans in 2022.

The committee is separated into two groups, medical marijuana and adult use. The adult use side voted on the new legislation Monday and okay’ed it to be viewed and voted on by both groups next Wednesday.

South Dakota Senator, Helene Duhamel, sits on the adult use side and says that if the state goes that direction some legislation will be ready to be reviewed during the 2022 session.

If the committee were to approve the legislation, there’s still a lot of work to be done before it would go into effect and Duhamel says it’s hard to tell what final legislation may look like.

”It could just sit on the shelf. It could be something in the back pocket, if we feel we need to go in that direction. With Initiated Measures to legalize recreational marijuana, there could be enough thought that, ‘Hey, let’s wait and see what the voters want, and we would know by next year November,’” says Duhamel.

Duhamel says every legislator wants to follow the will of the voters, but last year when recreational marijuana was on the ballot three things were lumped together in the amendment: adult use, medical use and hemp. She says this could have been confusing, and she’d like to see recreational marijuana stand by itself. She says that would help her understand the true desires of South Dakotans, and she wonders if once medical marijuana is implemented if that will have an impact on how South Dakotans vote in 2022.

”That’s a year from now. By then, medical is up and running. It might be a good way to find out really what the will of the voter is,” says Duhamel, “once medical is already established and the people who want access to it, will have access to it.”

A state Supreme Court ruling for Amendment A, which would have legalized the adult use of marijuana in July of this year, is still awaiting a decision. Duhamel expects that decision to be made sometime this fall.

The decision will either make the conversation about recreational marijuana moot, as it will be legal. Or, make it even more necessary to be talked about for the next legislative session.

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