If you reside in the state of South Dakota, you have likely heard about Amendment A and Initiated Measure (IM) 26. Both measures revolve around the legalization of marijuana in the state. IM 26 centers on legalizing medical cannabis, while Amendment A proposes legalizing recreational cannabis.
This post will look at the current standing of both measures according to a recent news story.
Initiated Measure 26 (medical marijuana)
There is not much emerging news to report about IM 26. In November, residents voted to approve the measure, which will make it legal to use marijuana for medical purposes.
At this time, no dispensaries exist. It will fall to the Department of Health to approve retailers who wish to dispense medical marijuana. In the meantime, the state is working to establish regulations surrounding medical cannabis retail licenses. Estimates indicate it will not be available in retail establishments for many months.
Amendment A (recreational marijuana)
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem still strongly opposes recreational marijuana despite significant support of the measure by residents. Over half of voters in the state approved Amendment A, but the governor reportedly used her political office to block approval.
Governor Noem supported a successful lawsuit challenging Amendment A’s legality. However, several lawyers have appealed this decision in the state Supreme Court, and the case is currently pending.
Summing up the situation on marijuana legislation
On July 1, IM 26 will go into effect. However, it may be possible to use the measure right now to fight against marijuana possession charges. It is at least worth exploring with an experienced defense attorney. Amendment A still waits for approval. As such, if the police catch you with cannabis, you could face harsh consequences. As with other drug crimes, the penalties of a conviction could mean extremely costly fines and the possibility of jail time.