A bipartisan proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in South Dakota has survived its first test in the Legislature. The Senate Commerce and Energy Committee advanced SB 3 to the floor on a 5-3 vote.
Voters in 2020 approved recreational marijuana with 54% support, but Gov. Kristi Noem challenged its constitutionality on technical grounds and the state Supreme Court ruled to nullify it last year.
Republican lawmakers are now facing pressure from voters to legalize it and even some who previously opposed legalization say it should get serious consideration, especially since a broader legalization proposal looks headed to the November ballot.
SB 3 legalizes up to an ounce of pot for adults over 21, but growing it at home would remain illegal. The sponsor, Republican Senator Michael Rohl, calls it one of the more restrictive recreational programs in the country.
Several top Republicans, including the governor and Senate Majority leader Gary Cammack, remain opposed with Cammack saying “at this stage of the game, it’s just not going to happen” because lawmakers already have enough to tackle this year.’