South Dakota Lawmakers Consider Recreational Marijuana Legalization

South Dakota lawmakers spent the last year figuring out what to do with two voter-approved measures to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana. While a medical program has been implemented, recreational pot remains illegal after the state Supreme Court ruled that the ballot measure violated the state constitution. And some lawmakers want to change the status of both.

A legislative committee has crafted a pair of bills to legalize and then tax recreational marijuana for adults. Also, dozens of bills propose more regulations on the current medical marijuana law, including putting a three-plant maximum on medical users who grow cannabis at home or disallowing home growing altogether.

But lawmakers will be taking up an issue that’s politically fraught for Gov. Kristi Noem. She opposed marijuana legalization, tried to slow implementation of the medical marijuana law last year and launched a lawsuit that killed recreational pot legalization. She has struck a softer tone recently on legalization.

Sen. Michael Rohl, who has pushed for legalization, said Noem told lawmakers on a recent call that “we were driving the bus” on marijuana legislation.

It’s not clear whether Noem would veto recreational marijuana if a bill legalizing it reaches her desk. Rohl said he wants to “put it on her desk and find out.”

Many lawmakers see pot legalization as inevitable _ either through their action, federal legislation or another ballot measure in November.

“Some of the folks believe that we’re either going to do it or have it done to us,” Cammack said.