South Dakota legislators preparing for both outcomes in marijuana legislation
South Dakota legislators are preparing for both outcomes as it pertains to the legalization of marijuana in the state as the issue heads to the South Dakota Supreme Court.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Three months ago, South Dakota residents voted to legalize recreational and medical marijuana.
Less than three weeks after the vote, local officials, including Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom and South Dakota Highway Patrol Commander Col. Rick Miller filed a lawsuit against the amendment, saying the amendment violates the state’s constitution.
On Monday, a Sixth Circuit Judge upheld the lawsuit, citing that it is a revision and was required to be submitted to South Dakota voters through the constitutional convention process and because it wasn’t, it voids the amendment.
Despite the setback, legislators like Mike Derby, a State Representative for District 34, are preparing as if the amendment will pass without knowing the S.D. Supreme Court’s decision on the matter.
“We just have to continue to prepare as if it will be found constitutional and work through the legislative process in regards to that,” Derby said.
Derby has proposed a bill that shows how the state can generate the most amount of revenue and provides guardrails and limitations on the number of license needs in the state.
If recreational marijuana is passed, Derby says that medical marijuana could be greatly impacted due to ease of access, but in the end information for the people is Derby’s main concern, while being apart of the Cannabis Caucus.
“I’m still focused on education and I think that’s really important and the more I can educate legislators, the better we can make decisions,” Derby said.
With surrounding states like North Dakota and Minnesota looking at legalizing adult-use marijuana, it’s important for S.D. legislators to look at their options for the future.
“If it doesn’t happen this year, it’s probably going to happen next year, so we might as well take a good hard look at it, get things in place that we as South Dakotan’s approve and then federally some of it’s going to happen federally whether we like it or not,” Derby said.