South Dakota Planning Cannabis Regulations Despite Court’s Rejection of Legalization Vote

Lawmakers in South Dakota are still considering rules and regulations for a legal cannabis market in case the recent court decision blocking the state’s voter-backed legalization bid is successfully appealed.

Full story after the jump.

Despite the decision by a South Dakota judge to reject the voter-approved cannabis legalization law, some state lawmakers are still preparing rules and regulations for the industry in case the Supreme Court overturns the lower court decision, the Argus Leader reports, and at least one lawmaker is preparing for the Legislature to consider the reforms.

Republican state Sen. Brock Greenfield told reporters on Tuesday that legalization via the Legislature is “a very real possibility.”

Greenfield has filed a vehicle bill with a generic title stating that the bill pertains to cannabis. Vehicle bills are an empty shell that can be used to carry any cannabis-related legislation not recorded by the Legislative Research Council by the filing deadline, which has already passed for the state’s 2021 session. Theoretically, the entirety of the voter-approved constitutional amendment could be filed into that vehicle bill and formally introduced in the Legislature.

South Dakota Circuit Court Judge Christina Klinger ruled on Monday that the voter-approved law “is a revision as it has far-reaching effects on the basic nature of South Dakota’s governmental system,” and the measure ultimately violated the state’s one-issue clause for ballot initiatives.

State Sen. Arthur Rausch (R), a former judge and attorney, said one of the measure’s downfalls in court – and a major point of opposition for lawmakers – is that it gives rule-making authority solely to the Department of Revenue. He said “there were a lot of bad parts” to the proposal.

“The proponents would be far better off to come to these legislative groups that are working on marijuana and help draft something that works for everybody.” – Rausch to the Argus Leader

The circuit court decision does not impact the medical cannabis law, which was also approved by voters in November. The lawsuit challenging the adult-use legalization law was brought by two law enforcement officers at the behest of Republican Gov. Kristi Noem.

Noem said the court decision “protects and safeguards” the state’s constitution and was confident the Supreme Court would “come to the same conclusion” as the lower court.

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