Despite Obstacles SD Marijuana Group Feels Good about Effort / Public News ServicePosted by On


Last fall, South Dakota became the first state to endorse two marijuana-related ballot questions in the same election, for a medical cannabis program and to legalize recreational use for people age 21 and older. (Adobe Stock)

Last fall, South Dakota became the first state to endorse two marijuana-related ballot questions in the same election, for a medical cannabis program and to legalize recreational use for people age 21 and older. (Adobe Stock)

 By Mike Moen, Public News Service – SD – Producer, Contact

March 29, 2021

PIERRE, S.D. — Today is the last day of South Dakota’s legislative session, and lawmakers could decide the fate of a medical marijuana program approved by voters but opposed by the governor.

Gov. Kristi Noem, a staunch critic of legalizing marijuana in any form, pushed to delay starting a medical cannabis program this summer.

Her office acknowledged the window has passed, and is now urging lawmakers to consider a host of restrictions before the process ramps up.

Matthew Schweich, director of South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, said earlier this year, things didn’t look good for an on-time start. He credits the turnaround to a grassroots effort to defend the will of the public.

“We generated thousands of calls and thousands of emails,” Schweich touted. “And by doing that, we fought off some very severe delays.”

Last November, two ballot initiatives were approved, one for medical cannabis use, another for recreational use for adults. The latter is still tied up in the courts.

Noem and other opponents argued the amendment was too broad, and expressed concerns about the societal effects of legalization.

Schweich’s group offered some compromises along the way, including…

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Last fall, South Dakota became the first state to endorse two marijuana-related ballot questions in the same election, for a medical cannabis program and to legalize recreational use for people age 21 and older. (Adobe Stock)

Last fall, South Dakota became the first state to endorse two marijuana-related ballot questions in the same election, for a medical cannabis program and to legalize recreational use for people age 21 and older. (Adobe Stock)

 By Mike Moen, Public News Service – SD – Producer, Contact

March 29, 2021

PIERRE, S.D. — Today is the last day of South Dakota’s legislative session, and lawmakers could decide the fate of a medical marijuana program approved by voters but opposed by the governor.

Gov. Kristi Noem, a staunch critic of legalizing marijuana in any form, pushed to delay starting a medical cannabis program this summer.

Her office acknowledged the window has passed, and is now urging lawmakers to consider a host of restrictions before the process ramps up.

Matthew Schweich, director of South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, said earlier this year, things didn’t look good for an on-time start. He credits the turnaround to a grassroots effort to defend the will of the public.

“We generated thousands of calls and thousands of emails,” Schweich touted. “And by doing that, we fought off some very severe delays.”

Last November, two ballot initiatives were approved, one for medical cannabis use, another for recreational use for adults. The latter is still tied up in the courts.

Noem and other opponents argued the amendment was too broad, and expressed concerns about the societal effects of legalization.

Schweich’s group offered some compromises along the way, including…



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