South Dakota Subcommittee Votes to Advance Adult-Use Cannabis Bill

The South Dakota Legislature’s subcommittee on adult-use cannabis voted 8-2 to move forward with a proposal to enact legalization reforms, despite opposition by Republican Gov. Kristi Noem.

Full story after the jump.

The South Dakota Legislature’s subcommittee on adult-use cannabis on Tuesday voted 8-2 to move forward with a proposal to enact the reforms, KELO reports. The bill moves next to the Legislature’s full cannabis study committee before it heads to the Legislature’s Executive Board, which would decide whether to introduce the bill next session.

South Dakota voters in 2020 approved both adult-use and medical cannabis legalization bills but the initiative is being challenged by two law enforcement officers – at the behest of Republican Gov. Kristi Noem – who argue that the amendment violated the one-subject rule for ballot questions. The court is still considering the case.

If the measure is approved by the cannabis study committee and the Executive Board, it will be introduced in the 2022 session which opens in January, the report says. It would then go through the normal committee process and, if approved, would be voted on in the state House of Representatives and Senate.

Noem continues to oppose the reforms, despite lawmakers moving forward with possibly introducing the bill. Noem’s spokesman, Ian Fury, told Kelo that the governor remains “not supportive of legalizing recreational marijuana.”

In the Supreme Court rules in favor of the initiative, the bill would be moot and adult-use cannabis would be legalized in South Dakota – as voters intended in November.

Two of the key differences between the lawmaker-backed legislation and the voter-approved constitutional amendment are that home-grown cannabis would not be legal and cannabis couldn’t be grown outdoors. The subcommittee decided to put tax provisions into a separate bill so that lawmakers would have clearer choices on legalizing adult-use cannabis and taxing it as a tax increase or as a new tax, which requires a two-thirds majority.

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