South Dakota Lawmakers Prepare Dozens Of Cannabis Reform Bills

High Times

Only weeks after the South Dakota Supreme Court struck down a cannabis legalization initiative passed by voters, state lawmakers will consider more than two dozen bills to reform cannabis policy during the new legislative session beginning this month. Legislators have already filed at least 38 bills for the legislative session that begins this month, according to media reports. Of them, at least two dozen of the bills tackle policy pertaining to medical marijuana or adult-use cannabis.  Medical Marijuana Bills up for Consideration Many of the bills coming before the legislature were drafted to implement Initiated Measure 26 (IM 26), a ballot measure to legalize medical cannabis passed by voters in the November 2020 election. Rollout of the state’s new medical cannabis program has begun, with the first medical marijuana identification card being issued by the state in November 2021. Local governments have started to license medical cannabis dispensaries, although the state has yet to issue any cultivation licenses. IM 26 gave the legislature the authority to pass legislation necessary to implement the measure. Last summer, a legislative Marijuana Interim Study Committee held three meetings to draft legislation to enact provisions of IM 26. Republican State Rep. Fred Deutsch, a member of the committee, said that some of the legislative proposals make minor amendments to the language in the ballot measure. “I look at all the bills coming through the state Senate as ‘clean up bills,” Deutsch told reporters recently. “They are the result of the summer study, and are pretty much just low-hanging fruit, that is how I think of them. All of them passed by large numbers (in committee.)” Deutsch noted, however, that the proposed bills retain the spirit of the ballot measure approved by the electorate. “I want to provide voters the opportunity to have the medical marijuana…

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