Things are being lined up for South Dakota to take another look at cannabis in 2020. Hemp might be getting another vote in the State Legislature, while two separate ballots may be voted on by citizens next year.
Two measures have been submitted for review and have a good chance of making it onto the ballot next year. Both of the measures deal with marijuana.
The first is to legalize medical marijuana. Qualifying patients would have access to the drug, even ones who are under 18. Patients would register through the health department. They would legally be allowed to carry up to three ounces of cannabis, grow up to three plants at home, and dispensaries would be available in the state. The measure received 30,000 signatures when it was submitted, versus the 16,921 required.
The other measure would be an amendment to the state constitution, legalizing recreational marijuana. The product would have a 15% excise tax and would be available to people over the age of 21. Commercial growers and medicinal users would need to get a license.
It’s estimated that the tax revenue from cannabis would amount to $29 million by 2024, and would be split between education and the general fund.
There were a total of 50,000 signatures submitted for the amendment, with only 33,921 required. All of the signatures for both measures will first be verified.
A lobbyist of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry, David Owen isn’t the most confident that both measures will pass.
“We’re not officially opposed to these two,” he said. “But I will share with you, the leadership of the South Dakota Chamber made it very clear to me two years ago they have no interest in legalized pot. I had the president of the Colorado Chamber call in and (I) asked, ‘How are you surviving this thing?’” Owen said. “It’s tolerable, because in their experience because their Supreme Court has reaffirmed the fact that businesses can terminate people for a positive THC test. … As long as it’s still legal to terminate them, that has kept this from destroying their workforce.”
As long as employers still have the right to terminate employees over a positive THC screening, there is still hope that employers will be able to maintain their workforce.