Sioux Falls residents may remember that there have been two failed South Dakota ballot initiatives to legalize medical marijuana. Pro-legalization advocates will get a third chance this year thanks to a pair of initiatives.
Medical marijuana initiative
The first ballot initiative is called Initiated Measure 26, also known as New Approach South Dakota. If passed, this initiative would legalize medical marijuana use for patients with certification from a doctor that they have a debilitating medical condition that cannabis could treat. With that certification, patients could possess up to three ounces of marijuana and grow up to three plants, but possibly get medical clearance for more.
Full legalization ballot question
Another initiative would go further by fully legalizing cannabis use by adults aged 21 and older. That initiative, Constitutional Amendment A, would create a system to regulate and tax a cannabis industry in South Dakota, including cultivation and sales. Residents without close access to a dispensary would be allowed to grow up to three plants for personal use. Finally, this amendment would require the state government to legalize the sale of hemp products and create a system for regulating medical marijuana by April 2022.
While attempts to legalize cannabis have failed before, it has been more than a decade since the last time South Dakota voters considered medical marijuana. Since then, 11 states have legalized recreational cannabis for adults. With medicinal and recreational use becoming increasingly accepted across the U.S., it could be that voters in this state are ready for medical marijuana, if not full legalization.
We don’t know yet what voters will decide. For now, at least, marijuana is still illegal in South Dakota. Charges such as felony-level possession, trafficking and cultivation can result in prison time, large fines, or both. The best way you can contest drug charges is to find an experienced defense attorney to represent you.