South Dakota Senate approves adult-use retail marijuana licensing

Bill cites decision by "majority of voters" to approve legalization

5:31 P.M. UPDATE: Clarifies the steps still required before recreational use of marijuana can become legal in South Dakota.

PIERRE, S.D. — The South Dakota State Senate on Wednesday approved a bill to license businesses for the sale, possession, and use of marijuana for adult recreational purposes. The measure passed 19-16 and now goes to the House of Representatives.

Sponsored by Senator Brock Greenfield (R-District 2), Senate Bill 187B is intended “to put in place a statutory system of laws for the regulation of the sale, possession, and consumption of adult-use retail marijuana as authorized by the passage of Constitutional Amendment A at the general election.”

It acknowledges that Amendment A was held to be unconstitutional, but says the Legislature recognizes that a majority of South Dakota voters approved the legalization of the sale, possession, and consumption of adult-use retail marijuana, and  “believes it necessary to enact this legislation to properly ensure the regulated and enforceable administration of laws concerning the sale, possession, and consumption of adult-use retail marijuana.”

Senate Bill 187B establishes the regulatory framework for licensing retail businesses so they can sell recreational-use marijuana to adults once it becomes legal.

Rapid City Representative Mike Derby (R-District 34) is the prime sponsor in the State House of Representatives. He says one of four things will have to happen before recreational-use marijuana will be legalized in South Dakota: the ruling against Amendment A will have to be overturned in the state Supreme Court; a new constitutional amendment that does pass judicial review will need to be approved by voters; an initiated measure legalizing cannabis will need to be approved by voters; or the Federal government will need to decriminalize marijuana.

The Senate approved the bill on the day before what is known as Crossover Day — the day on which all bills must move from the chamber in which they originated to the other chamber.

Senate Bill 187B has not yet been scheduled for action in the House. The bill will first be assigned to a committee. Derby is cautiously optimistic that the measure will pass out of committee, reach the full House, and be sent on to South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem.

During a media briefing earlier in the current legislative session,  Gov. Noem indicated that she was inclined to veto any recreational marijuana bill the Legislature might send her, but her office has not yet commented on this particular bill.

The South Dakota Legislature held a series of informational meetings this session to learn about what’s involved in legalizing recreational and medical marijuana. To view the information sessions, visit the links below:

Cannabis Caucus 1

Cannabis Caucus 2

Cannabis Caucus 3

Cannabis Caucus 4 (contains two videos)

Categories: Breaking News, Cannabis Legislation, Local News, South Dakota News