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Who would’ve believed that South Dakota would be voting on legal changes regarding marijuana. Who would believe that South Dakota will vote on two separate amendments to make marijuana legal. 2020 is a crazy year that’s for sure. Later this year residents of South Dakota will be able to vote on two separate amendments regarding marijuana use, at the same time as the presidential election. But will they pass?
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South Dakota Legalizing Medical Marijuana
South Dakota’s medical marijuana initiative, officially called Initiated Measure 26, is confirmed as on the ballot for November 3, 2020. Residents will vote either yes or no to establishing a medical marijuana program for individuals with debilitating medical conditions. The following are classed as debilitating conditions:
- Cachexia (wasting syndrome)
- Debilitating pain
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Severe Nausea
The patient possession limit would be three ounces of marijuana. Patients would be allowed to grow three plants at home, provided they are registered to cultivate at home.
…And Recreational Too?
South Dakota’s marijuana legalization initiative, officially the Constitutional Amendment A, is also confirmed on the ballot for the November 2020 election. This amendment mainly focuses on legalizing marijuana for adult use. A 15% tax would be applied to marijuana sales, and after costs are covered, 50% of the remaining funds would go to public schools, and the other 50% would contribute towards the states general fund.
Local governments would have the power to ban all marijuana related operations, including growing, testing and selling. Although this isn’t great news, there is a silver lining. If you live in a jurisdiction with no retail stores, you can grow your own at home. Three plants would be allowed per adult, with no more than six plants total per residence. If there are retail stores around, then you can’t grow yourself, but can possess up to an ounce for private consumption.
The following fines would also be implemented:
- $250 for growing at home, if you live in a jurisdiction with retail stores
- $100 for smoking weed in public
- $250 for not locking away growing plants at home
- $250 if those plants are visible from a public space (e.g. through a window)
- $100 if a person is using under 21, OR they could attend a drug education program
South Dakota Statistics
So for anyone reading not from the US, South Dakota is a very conservative state for the most part. It hasn’t voted for a Democratic President since 1964, and the time before that was 1936. If the legalization bill passes, it will become the 2nd consistent Republican voting state to legalize recreational use. The first state was Alaska.
South Dakota is one of only 6 states with a population below 1 million. The states total population is around 880,000, with 190,000 of those people living in Sioux Falls, the states largest city. Only one other city (Rapid City) has a population above 50,000.
Will The Medical Marijuana Initiative Pass?
This isn’t the first time South Dakota has tried legalizing marijuana for medical use. In 2006 and 2010 similar initiatives were voted on. The initiative narrowly missed out in 2006, with 48% voting in favor, and 52% against. In 2010, the vote was 37% in favor, and 63% against. Although the level of support seemed to have dropped, this is over a decade ago now, and a lot has changed in that time. 11 states have now legalized recreational use since 2012, not to mention the majority of states now having a functioning medical marijuana program.
North Carolina Weed Laws
South Dakota is not one of those states yet. In fact, currently South Dakota is one of only three states to not permit cannabis oil in full. The state does allow Epidiolex (FDA approved prescription brand oil), but that’s it. The other two states are Idaho and Nebraska. So yes, I believe the medical marijuana initiative vote will pass. It’s high time at the least. But, anything can happen so we’ll have to wait and see.
Will The Recreational Amendments Pass?
This one is a lot harder to tell. South Dakota has never had a vote on legalizing marijuana in full before. Maybe by the time November comes, and assuming COVID-19 has in large passed, the residents of South Dakota might be craving a joint more than ever. Hopefully the residents of South Dakota will at least receive some form of legal marijuana soon.