Marijuana Summer Study Lawmakers Draft 25 Pot Regulating Bills | Local News


PIERRE – The state’s Interim Legislative Summer Study Committee, which was charged with studying the problems of medical and recreational marijuana use in South Dakota, has produced a series of recommendations that will be discussed in the next legislative session starting in January, including one that would legalize possession of marijuana for residents over the age of 21.

The state’s Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling that Amendment A violated the one-topic rule and was therefore overturned.

“Marijuana is still illegal nationally, so it’s a challenge we continue to have; however, 35 states have already adopted some form of marijuana legalization, ”said Senator Bryan Breitling, who chaired the interim study committee over the summer.

Breitling presented an overview report on the committee’s findings and recommendations at an executive committee meeting on November 17.

The entire summer study committee split into two sub-committees; a measure-driven initiated 26, which enabled the implementation of a medical marijuana program through the South Dakota Department of Health, and a subcommittee focused on the amendment A, which would allow recreational use.

For the Medical Marijuana Subcommittee, Breitling said the focus is on amending the current statutes set out in IM 26, which were passed and passed by voters in November 2020 to maximize public safety. .

“Our responsibility is not to protect a single person or a specific business, our responsibility is public safety, and therefore we have taken the attitude of…” IM 26 has been overwhelmingly endorsed and supported by residents of the state , so our goal was really, how can we make it the safest and the best for our state, ”he said.

The subcommittee listened to testimony from the Ministries of Health and Revenue as well as from the drafters of the measure, numerous law enforcement agencies, the health sector and a number of regulatory entities. the marijuana industry. They also toured several cannabis facilities both in-state and out-of-state, to gain a better understanding of how the manufacture and distribution of marijuana could be managed.

Based on this research, the subcommittee drafted 23 bills addressing elements of the original law that it believes need to be amended to better match their public safety mission. These bills should be discussed during the next legislative session.

The Adult Use Subcommittee had a slightly more difficult mission to determine what a recreational use law should look like, even while the state Supreme Court deliberated on whether the Amendment A would be considered constitutionally valid.

Breitling said the adult use subcommittee drafted two bills in anticipation of the court ruling, which sought to legalize recreational marijuana for residents over the age of 21.

“So we have a bill that updated the marijuana penal code and allows the industry to legalize adult use,” he said.

With the Supreme Court ruling on Thursday that “Amendment A, as submitted to voters in the November 2020 general election, violated the single subject requirement in the South Dakota Constitution.” Due to the constitutional violation, the Court declared the amendment invalid, ”the bills of the subcommittees will also be discussed in the next legislative session.

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