South Dakota adult-use cannabis bill faces ‘tough path’ in House, gov’s office

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The South Dakota House Majority Leader says an adult-use cannabis legalization bill faces a “decently tough path going forward” in the state House of Representatives.

Rep. Kent Peterson’s comments, made during a Thursday news conference and reported by Sioux Falls TV station KELO, came after the South Dakota Senate narrowly approved the bill on Wednesday.

The recreational marijuana legalization bill would permit localities to opt-out of allowing businesses and ban home cultivation.

And even if the bill is approved by the House, a veto from anti-marijuana South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem remains possible.

Asked during a media availability whether she would veto the recreational cannabis legalization bill, Noem did not give a direct answer.

“It’s hard to talk in hypotheticals,” Noem told reporters.

“I’m not in favor of recreational marijuana. I still believe I haven’t seen anybody get smarter from smoking dope,” she added, before changing the subject to medical marijuana.

Sponsors of a recreational legalization ballot measure headed to voters later this year have said they would drop that campaign if the legalization bill is enacted, according to the Associated Press.

Asked whether she would consider that compromise, the governor said:

“I would say, based on that statement, they must have polling that tells them the people of South Dakota don’t necessarily support recreational marijuana.

“I understand their offer, but it’s not something I would take them up on.

“If the people of South Dakota, this fall, really want to have that debate, they’ll have a few more months under their belt of seeing really what impact the medical program is having.”

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South Dakota voters approved both medical and recreational cannabis in 2020, but the state Supreme Court ruled against the recreational ballot measure after a lawsuit backed by Noem.

South Dakota started issuing permits for MMJ dispensaries in January.