PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — There will be plenty of political smoke in the air the next few days and weeks at the sate Capitol over where marijuana is heading next in South Dakota.
The governor, all 105 state lawmakers and the Supreme Court’s five justices will take turns in the spotlight arguing and deciding when, if and how marijuana gets legalized for medical and adult use.
The battles crank up Monday when senators debate HB 1100 that would delay medical marijuana until January 1, 2022.
Many Republican lawmakers and Republican Governor Kristi Noem want a special committee to more closely examine all of the things they say weren’t covered when nearly 70% of voters approved Initiated Measure 26 back in November
What the Senate does could mean the House gets another crack. A Senate committee last week added language to the legislation so that people accused of marijuana crimes could claim a medical defense starting July 1. Representatives earlier rejected a similar provision.
The House meanwhile on Monday will debate SB 35 that would provide $4,161,502 for Noem’s administration to start putting in place systems for regulation and enforcement of medical and adult-use marijuana.
As for letting adults age 21 and older legally use marijuana in South Dakota, that effort is now dead in the legislative chambers, after a House committee defeated SB 187 last week. But that fight is quickly moving forward in the state Supreme Court one floor down in the Capitol.
Wednesday, March 10, is the deadline for lawyers defending Amendment A to make their case to the justices why their November 3 victory at the ballot box should be upheld.
The head of the state Highway Patrol, acting at the governor’s direction, and the Pennington County sheriff challenged the legality of Amendment A on procedural grounds. A circuit judge agreed with the governor’s position and declared the voters’ decision invalid.
The Supreme Court wants the governor’s side to present its arguments two weeks later.
Looking ahead to 2022, Republican lawmakers last week put a constitutional amendment on the statewide primary election ballot that proposes a higher barrier for some future ballot measures.
HJR 5003 would require a 60% supermajority for proposals that seek to raise or add a tax, or would commit state government to spending $10 million or more over five years.
Amendment A included a 15% surtax on marijuana sales. It passed with 54% support.