South Dakota Medical and Recreational Marijuana Legalization Passage
WILL SOUTH DAKOTA’S TWO COMPETING MARIJUANA INITIATIVES ON THE NOV 2020 BALLOT PASS?
There is currently no legal marijuana program/laws in South Dakota. However, there are two competing initiatives that will appear on the Nov 2020 ballot; Initiated Measure 26 is on the ballot to legalize medical marijuana, and Constitutional Amendment A is on the ballot to legalize recreational marijuana.
On June 27–30, a statewide poll was conducted by the campaign committee No Way On A, organized by the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce. The poll results revealed that 60% of South Dakota voters are in favor of recreational legalizations and more than 70% said they support medical cannabis legalization.
LEARN MORE ABOUT INITIATED MEASURE 26 AND CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT A
South Dakota Medical Marijuana Initiative: Initiated Measure 26 (IM-26), if passed, will establish a medical marijuana program for qualifying patients with debilitating medical conditions. Patients will be allowed to possess a maximum of three ounces of marijuana, plus additional marijuana products, and have the option to grow at least three plants at home. The program’s rules will be established and enforced by the South Dakota Department of Health. Highlights of the proposed medical marijuana program include:
- Qualifying conditions for medical marijuana patients include “cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe, debilitating pain; severe nausea; seizures; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristics of multiple sclerosis.” The Department of Health may add to this list.
- Patient reciprocity: Non-residents may use out-of-state registration cards to purchase and possess medical marijuana in South Dakota.
- Creates a licensing structure for medical marijuana businesses that will be regulated by both the department and local government.
South Dakota Recreational Marijuana Initiative: Constitutional Amendment A (CA-A), if passed, would legalize the recreational use, possession, and distribution (up to one ounce) of marijuana for individuals 21 years old and older. The amendment would require all revenue, not including implementation costs, to be split between the state’s general fund and the public education system. The amendment requires the state legislature to pass separate laws regarding the medical use of marijuana. Furthermore, it requires the state legislature to pass laws regulating the cultivation, processing, and sale of hemp. While the amendment allows for the establishment of marijuana businesses, it also allows for homegrown cannabis.
Pending on which initiative passes, the below outlines marijuana businesses for each program.
South Dakota Medical Marijuana Business License: Under Initiated Measure 26, local governments (cities, townships, counties, etc.) will be allowed to regulate the number and types of licenses allowed to operate within their jurisdiction. Types of licenses allowed include Cultivation, Cannabis Product Manufacturing, and Medical Cannabis Dispensary.
South Dakota Recreational Marijuana Business License: The Department of Revenue (department) shall regulate and license businesses for the cultivation, manufacture, testing, transport, delivery, and sale of marijuana in the state. The department shall accept applications for and issue the following types of licenses: Cultivator/Manufacturer; Testing; Distributors/Transport; and Retail. The department shall take the following into consideration when determining the appropriate number of licenses to issue:
- Issue enough licenses to substantially reduce the illicit production and sale of marijuana throughout the state; and
- Limit the number of licenses issued, if necessary, to prevent an undue concentration of licenses in any one municipality.
Local government may enact ordinances or regulations governing the time, place, manner, and number of licenses operating within its jurisdiction – this includes banning the marijuana operations altogether.
To sum, based on history, no state has ever passed a recreational marijuana program before legalizing medical marijuana. While both efforts is a movement forward in the marijuana industry, oftentimes, having more than one initiative to push any form of marijuana legalization forward, does more harm than good as it confuses voters. Vote Yes on Initiated Measure 26 to legalize medical marijuana in South Dakota.
For states that are pending legalization, like South Dakota, we encourage those interested in starting a marijuana business, to focus on establishing your Business and Financial plans. If you are interested in applying for a marijuana business license in South Dakota, email us to discuss how we may be able to assist you.