RAPID CITY, S.D. — Recreational and medical marijuana have been hot topics of discussion this week.
In November, a majority of voters voted in favor of a measure that would legalize the use of recreational marijuana. That measure, Amendment A, was struck down as unconstitutional. Advocates are now planning to appeal that decision to the South Dakota Supreme Court. In the meantime the South Dakota senate continues to work on legislation in case recreation use is approved in the future.
“We have a legal opinion based on what the voters want,” said Representative Greg Jamison (R-District 12). “They wanted legalized marijuana, they wrote language that didn’t work, we’ve got an opinion now that says why it didn’t work and it’s a third party. It’s not us making our own opinion, it’s not the governor making her opinion. And so it almost creates a safe path for us to write a new law in a way that eliminates all those challenges that were outlined in the lawsuit.”
The Senate has approved a bill to license adult use sale of marijuana. It will be assigned to a committee and then scheduled for action in the House.
“We put it into state law statute instead of a constitutional amendment, which we all think is a better path,” said Jamison. “We include all those pieces of revenue sharing, the tax structure, the age limitations, the licensing rules, the limits on personal use, right down the line.”
“The amendment is not what the people voted for,” said Senate Minority leader, Troy Heinert (D-District 26). “It is not constitutional Amendment A by any stretch of the means. I think that an actual constitutional amendment a will be inserted into a bill next week, and we’ll have to take an up or down vote of whether we support the will of the people or not.”
Some legislators believe ignoring the will of voters may also affect future campaigns.
“Whether we agree with marijuana personally, that’s not our job,” said Heinert. “The voters passed it, and it’s our job to institute the program that they passed. And I think that any legislator who doesn’t follow the will of the people, I think they will hear about that in their next campaign.”