South Dakota

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South Dakota pot legalization initiative qualifies for November ballot


South Dakota state officials announced on Wednesday that an initiative to legalize recreational cannabis has qualified for the ballot for the November general election.

The South Dakota Secretary of State announced on Wednesday that a ballot measure to legalize cannabis for adults has received enough verified signatures to qualify for the November election, giving the state’s voters another chance to legalize recreational pot at the ballot box. Secretary of State Steve Barnett also announced that the proposal sponsored by the group South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws (SDBML) will be titled Initiated Measure 27 for this year’s general election.


South Dakota picks seed-to-sale tracker to monitor growth, sales of legal cannabis

cannabis plants

A New York-based software company will help South Dakota's cannabis industry and its regulators monitor the flow of marijuana in the state's legal market.

The Department of Health this month finalized a contract with Metrc, which will provide exclusive seed-to-sale tracking for the state as a medical marijuana program is implemented.

Using what's called "radio-frequency identification (RFID)," Metrc will monitor and record the life stages of all cannabis plants and the products they eventually end up in, a process called for as a public safety precaution within the voter-approved initiated measure that legalized medical marijuana.


South Dakota Governor signs handful of medical cannabis bills


The six bills bring a host of changes to the new cannabis law in South Dakota, including one that places a limit on the number of plants a patient can grow.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem last week signed a number of bills dealing with the state’s fledgling medical cannabis program that voters approved at the ballot in 2020.

Noem’s office said Friday that the first-term Republican had “signed six medical cannabis and hemp bills into law,” and that implementing those measures “will be part of Governor Noem’s focus on implementing a safe and responsible medical cannabis program that is the most patient-focused in the country.”


Medical cannabis dispensary breaks ground in Hartford


South Dakota’s Medical Cannabis program is slowly rolling out across the state, but as cards are being issued, dispensaries are still in short supply.

Right now the Native Nation’s Dispensary in Flandreau is still the only supplier in the state, but the owners of Hometown Bud just broke ground on a new national franchise in Hartford.

“After several years of planning, we’ve gotten to this point where we’re able to break ground and bring a business to Hartford,” B.J. Olson said. 

B.J. Olson and his best friend and business partner have spent years figuring out how to get into this new industry.


South Dakota lawmakers advance legalization bill

mount rushmore

Voters in South Dakota may have another crack at legalizing cannabis this year—unless lawmakers there do it first.

A bill to legalize recreational pot for adults narrowly advanced in the South Dakota legislature last week, winning approval in the senate by just a single vote. The legislation would bring some redemption to advocates who have been in a tug-of-war battle with the state for the last two years to end prohibition and finally get legal sales in the state. 

In 2020, 54 percent of South Dakota voters approved Amendment A, which would have legalized recreational marijuana, in addition to hemp and medicinal cannabis, within the state. (That same year, an even larger majority of voters passed a separate ballot measure that legalized only medical marijuana.)


Bill to decriminalize, regulate, and tax marijuana fails




A bill to decriminalize, regulate and tax marijuana in South Dakota has been rejected. House Bill 1045 failed with a vote of 31 to 36.

The bill would reduce the charge for possessing small amounts of marijuana from a felony to a misdemeanor for people over the age of 21. 

It also imposes a 15 percent tax on marijuana sales and provides for the distribution of that money to counties.

Opponents of the bill argue it was rushed and doesn’t fully consider the consequences of legalizing marijuana. 

A similar bill passed out of the Senate Commerce and Energy  committee and will be considered on the Senate floor.


Businesses hope to be processing South Dakota hemp later this year

hemp field

Last summer, about 10 people and 1,600 tons or so of harvest spearheaded the inaugural season of legal hemp farming in South Dakota.

Tuesday, almost twice as many farmers showed up at 9 a.m. to a fluorescent-lit, steel-chaired meeting at an American Legion in Tea to learn about the new crop.

John Peterson, of Dakota Hemp, is a fifth-generation farmer from Wakonda who hopes to offer presentations like Tuesday's for farmers. He and three other men helped explain the crop and its potential for profit, especially if there's opportunity to help cutting down travel all the way to Kansas or Montana just for farmers to process their crops.


Courteous cop completes food delivery after driver busted for outstanding warrants


Serve, protect and deliver?

A homeowner in Tea, South Dakota was more than a little surprised after opening her door for an anticipated food delivery and finding a police officer instead.


Police charge man after South Dakota seniors unwittingly eat pot brownies

pot brownies

The stakes were high — and scary — at a South Dakota community center card game. A group of seniors inadvertently ate a batch of cannabis brownies brought by a 73-year-old woman who didn’t know that her adult son had baked them with THC butter. The incident happened last Tuesday in Tabor, a town with a population of 423 people, according to an affidavit obtained by The Smoking Gun. Police responded to several calls of a “possible poisoning” and found that all the patients had been playing cards at the Tabor Community Center and were “under the influence.”


SD Republicans Believe Medicaid Worse Than Marijuana

ballot box

When I took my deep drag yesterday morning on the Legislature’s big marijuana bong, I noted in passing that Representative Will Mortenson’s Republican friends (and Republicans are the prime sponsors of all 26 marijuana bills in the hopper) appear to be ignoring his advice to leave marijuana policy alone until after voters get their say on the marijuana initiative that he is sure will make the November ballot. Mortenson expressed this wish even though marijuana initiative organizers had not at the time of his writing over a month ago yet submitted their initiative petition for a repeat vote on legalizing marijuana.


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