PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The debate over legal recreational use of marijuana lives on in the South Dakota Legislature.
Senate Bill 3, called “an act to provide for the use and regulated sale of marijuana,” narrowly passed the full Senate 18-17 on Wednesday. The bill contains 48 sections in 30 pages to regulate marijuana in the state and came with support from lawmakers on the Marijuana Interim Study Committee.
After the vote was taken a motion was made to reconsider, so the Senate may take another vote on the issue before the day is over. Senate Pro Tempore Lee Schoenbeck (R-Watertown) announced a motion to reconsider after the vote. He later said he doesn’t seek reconsideration of the bill. Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden said any other senator still could.
The Senate also voted to move SB 25 down on the calendar to later take up the issue. SB 25 outlines the taxation of marijuana in the state.
Sen. Michael Rohl (R-Aberdeen) is the bill’s prime sponsor and said lawmakers spent many hours working on the issue while Amendment A, which voters passed in 2020, was still in limbo.
Rohl highlighted a likely ballot measure regarding legal marijuana will allow home-grown marijuana but SB 3 doesn’t allow it. He also said cities and municipalities can opt-out and added people would be charged for consuming marijuana in public.
Sen. David Wheeler (R-Huron) said this is the opportunity for lawmakers to take control of the issue. He said he doesn’t believe the people were led astray when they passed Amendment A in 2020.
Schoenbeck said he’s not sure where voters stand on recreational marijuana. He said lawmakers can stay in control of the issue by killing the bill and let voters tell them what they want.
Voting in favor of SB 3 were senators Jessica Castleberry, Casey Crabtree, Red Dawn Foster, Troy Heinert, Tim Johns, David Johnson, Jack Kolbeck, Reynold Nesiba, Herman Otten, Michael Rohl, Arthur Rusch, Kyle Schoenfish, V.J. Smith, Wayne Steinhauer, Marsha Symens, Erin Tobin, David Wheeler and Larry Zikmund.
Voting against were senators Jim Bolin, Bryan Breitling, Gary Cammack, Blake Curd, Michael Diedrich, Helene Duhamel, Mary Duvall, Julie Frye-Mueller, Brock Greenfield, Jean Hunhoff, Joshua Klumb, Ryan Maher, Al Novstrup, Jim Stalzer, Maggie Sutton, Lee Schoenbeck and John Wiik.
The bill will now head to the House where it’ll need to pass a House committee and the full House floor.
Last week, Gov. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) said she doesn’t support recreational marijuana. On Thursday, she didn’t say whether she would veto SB 3, but hinted South Dakotans may not support recreational marijuana as much as some think.
“I still believe that I haven’t seen anybody get smarter from smoking dope,” Noem said. “If the people of South Dakotan, this fall, really want to have that debate they’ll have a few more months of their of really seeing the impact the medical program is having.”
According to the Secretary of State’s office, petitions are circulating for a 2022 ballot question for an initiated measure legalizing the possession, use and distribution of marijuana.
A pair of other marijuana bills passed in the Senate before SB 3.
SB 150, which puts the secretary of revenue in charge of adult-use marijuana, passed 20-14.
Sen. Brock Greenfield (R-Clark) called the bill a “hedge” in response if voters pass legal marijuana in a ballot measure. He noted the bill states the “Legislature doesn’t endorse the sale, possession, and consumption of adult-use marijuana.”
Greenfield said the department or revenue could start working on legal marijuana if voters pass a ballot measure in the November election.
“We’re trying to plan,” Greenfield said. “We’re trying to put something forward that works.”
Sen. Jack Kolbeck (R-Sioux Falls) asked if marijuana would be sold at the same business if someone had an alcohol license and Greenfield said those existing businesses would be eligible.
Sen. Greenfield said the state doesn’t want to create a “free for all” for who could sell marijuana if it became legal.
Sen. Jack Kolbeck (R-Sioux Falls) asked if marijuana would be sold if someone has an alcohol license and Greenfield said those existing businesses would be eligible.
Another marijuana-related bill, SB 151, would remove Class 2 and Class 1 misdemeanors for use or possession of marijuana from a person’s public record five years after all other court-order conditions were met. It passed 19-16.
Sen. Rohl said the bill would stop South Dakotans from being charged harsher for marijuana than surrounding states.
“I don’t think it’s right that we’re treating out-of-state people better,” Rohl said.