Chair wants subcommittee to draft legislation on adult-use marijuana for South Dakota

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The word among some lawyers is the South Dakota Supreme Court could release its decision later this week on the Amendment A case, the chairman told members of the Legislature’s subcommittee studying adult-use marijuana Tuesday.

“They haven’t shown their hand yet, but it’s probably going to be by the first of July,” Representative Hugh Bartels said.

The plan, depending on the court’s decision, calls for a group of five lawmakers who would work with Legislative Research Council staff and key people on getting something down on paper in the next five to six weeks that would be reviewed by the 13 subcommittee members.

The group — Representative Kirk Chaffee, Senator Helene Duhamel, Representative Mike Derby, Senator Art Rusch and Bartels — also would review other state laws.

South Dakota voters last year supported Amendment A legalizing marijuana for people age 21 and older 54-46% and IM 26 legalizing medical marijuana 70-30%. Both are supposed to take effect July 1.

Governor Kristi Noem, who campaigned against both measures, won a circuit court ruling afterward that Amendment A violated the state constitution’s single-subject requirement and should have gone to a statewide constitutional convention before getting on the ballot. The Supreme Court’s five justices are reviewing that decision.

Representative Ernie Otten, who serves on the medical-marijuana subcommittee, said property owners will face tax problems based on what has occurred in Colorado since marijuana was legalized. Otten wants a relief mechanism for cities and counties. He said law enforcement costs also will increase.

“I think that will be something that will be addressed,” Bartels replied. He said the question will be whether the legislation should propose a tax on adult-use marijuana or have the Legislature Appropriations Committee propose something.

Bartels suggested the additional revenue could help fund public education to a greater degree.

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