This week’s update highlights the latest drama and intrigue in South Dakota, and also includes updates on several other bills advancing across the country – some of which await their Governor’s signature. Take Action Now
Long-awaited legislation, the “Rhode Island Cannabis Act” (S 2430 & H 7593), has been introduced in the House and Senate. It establishes a regulated adult-use cannabis market that allows for the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis for personal use and establishes an independent commission to regulate the commercial cultivation, manufacture, and retail sale of cannabis for both medical and adult recreational use. The bill also provides for expungement for prior cannabis possession convictions.
This was a volatile week for SB 3, legislation which sought to allow for the personal possession and retail sale of marijuana by adults. After the Senate passed SB 3, the Republican led House State Affairs Committee voted it down. Shortly thereafter, a coalition of South Dakota House lawmakers revived the bill using a legislative maneuver known as a “smoke out” to bring the legislation to the floor. However, after being advanced to the House floor, the bill failed by a vote of 40-28.
Senate Bill 151A expands the pool of convictions eligible for automatic removal to include Class 1 misdemeanor convictions for the use or possession of marijuana. Under the measure, misdemeanor marijuana convictions will automatically come off someone’s criminal background check after five years if they’ve satisfied their sentencing.
Update: The Senate advanced SB 151A in a 19-1 vote. The House previously advanced the bill by a 38 – 31 vote. The legislation now heads to the Governor’s desk.
Earlier this session, the South Dakota Senate passed SB 24 to allow qualified patients to grow up to six plants at a time — three capable of producing THC and three in earlier growth stages. This bill seeks to affirm language previously approved by 70 percent of South Dakota voters when they decided in favor of ballot Measure 26.
Update: House members voted to gut the Senate bill, converting it to a ban on home cultivation. The measure now heads to conference committee, where members of both Chambers will decide its fate.
It is imperative that the home cultivation language be kept in the legislation!
Send a message to your legislators telling them to maintain patients home-cultivation rights,
Senate Bill 195 expands patients’ access to medical marijuana by expanding the pool of qualifying conditions to include those experiencing acute pain that would otherwise be treated with opioids.
Update: This bill passed the Senate floor with a vote of 21-7-1 and the House floor with a vote of 63 – 4 – 8. The legislation now heads to the Governor’s desk.
Republican members of the House General Laws Subcommittee on Monday halted any further advancement of Senate-backed legislation, SB 391, that sought to initiate retail marijuana sales to adults beginning this September. Committee members rejected the measure on a 5 to 3 party line vote. Republicans took control of the House of Delegates following the results of the November 2021 mid-term election.
JM Pedini, NORML’s Development Director and the Executive Director of Virginia NORML, said that the vote represented “a stunning failure of leadership on cannabis policy.” Pedini noted that Senate members failed to provide the House with a streamlined version of legislation to address the retail sales issue, while members of the GOP-led House failed to advance all but one cannabis-related bill out of their own chamber.
House Bill 4116 protects cannabis consumers from employment discrimination by limiting employers abilities to either discipline or refuse to hire an individual because results of positive drug test result for carboxy THC.
HB 2869 makes the following changes in state law: (1) legalizes cannabis use, possession, cultivation, and transfer among adults age 21 and older, (2) outlines social equity provisions for the industry, (3) immediately dismisses marijuana-related charges and vacates convictions, remaining sentences, ongoing supervisions, or unpaid court-ordered restitutions, and also establishing a training program for those eligible individuals to become involved in the cannabis industry (3), provides a regulatory framework for licensing and sales. If passed, the bill would permit adults to possess up to three pounds of marijuana or an equivalent weight of concentrates, and grow and process no more than six flowering plants. It would also exempt medical marijuana from taxation.
HB 2733 (1) legalizes cannabis use, possession, and cultivation for adults age 21 and older, (2) mandates that the courts automatically expunge convictions and criminal records for offenses involving cannabis and paraphernalia, and (3) outlines a regulatory framework for retail sales.
Missouri has had an operational medical cannabis program since 2020, and has partially decriminalized certain marijuana possession offenses. There is a ballot initiative effort that seeks to legalize the adult-use market under way as well.
Legislation is pending that would expand the pool of individuals eligible for medical cannabis. House Bill 60 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
Update: This legislation passed the House with a vote of 73 to 13. It now heads to the Senate.
House Bill 1634 and Senate Bill 1973 propose that county election commissions ask voters three non-binding questions related to the legalization of marijuana on the November 2022 ballot, and that their answers be compiled as a public policy opinion poll with results shared with the general assembly.
Update: This bill failed in the Elections & Campaign Finance Subcommittee with a vote of 6 to 2.
Legislation is pending to exempt medical marijuana from excise taxes. Senate Bill 5004 provides a tax exemption on medical marijuana purchased by registered patients from a licensed dispensary. Patients, many of whom are on disability or fixed income, should not be seen by lawmakers as a viable source of new tax revenue.
Update: This bill previously passed the Senate 42 – 7. This bill just passed the House Committee on Finance. It now advances to the House floor.