South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws reacts to new legislator proposal

South Dakota Marijuana

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The State Legislature’s subcommittee on adult-use marijuana has decided to recommend legalizing marijuana for all purposes for people 21 and older.

Rather than move forward with voter-approved laws, some lawmakers have come up with a plan of their own. Their proposal would legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use for anyone 21 and older.

The medical-marijuana program would stay in place for people under 21.

“The positive is that legislators want to enact a bill that is in alignment with the will of the people and that’s good to see,” Matthew Schweich, campaign director for South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, said. “Now, is this proposal the policy that we should ultimately adopt? That remains to be seen, we’re going to need to take a closer look.”

This proposed legislation would make it illegal to grow your own marijuana – something that would have been allowed under Amendment A and Initiated Measure 26.

“Unfortunately, throughout all over the country, legislators have this fear of home cultivation as though it’s going to create big problems,” Schweich said. “The reality is that somebody growing three or six or nine plants at home is not going to cause any problem.”

As for taxes, the subcommittee decided to put that in a separate bill.

“We’re certainly going to need to work out the details on the medical cannabis side because it’s really important that patients have access and that patients don’t pay tax on medical cannabis,” Schweich said.

If the plan is approved by the full marijuana study committee and the Legislature’s Executive Board, it will be introduced in the 2022 Legislative Session. However, its future also rests on whether the South Dakota Supreme Court rules Amendment A constitutional.

“I think a big question on all of this is where does the governor stand,” Schweich said. “Is she going to veto any of this? Because that will require a higher threshold for passage in the legislature. So that’s a question mark right now.”

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