The South Dakota Senate green-lighted bills to legalize and tax marijuana as well as provide for expungements for low-level cannabis offenses, Marijuana Moment reported. Sponsored by Sen. Michael Rohl (R), lawmakers advanced SB 3 in an 18-17 vote, late Wednesday. The measure cleared the Commerce and Energy Committee last week and is now heading to the House. Once enacted into law, the bill would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to one ounce of cannabis from licensed retailers. The proposal would not permit home cultivation that was on a ballot measure for which activists have been collecting signatures. Voters in South Dakota approved legalization during the 2020 elections. However, the reform was canceled by the state Supreme Court following a challenge from Gov. Kristi Noem’s (R) administration. According to Circuit Judge Christina Klinger’s ruling from last February, which Supreme Court backed, the initiative violated the requirement that constitutional amendments can deal with just one subject. Under the new proposal, the state’s adult-use program would be regulated by the state Department of Revenue, which will also put rules related to issues such as transportation and registration into effect. Local municipalities would be able to opt-out of allowing cannabis businesses within their jurisdiction. In addition, those with a past felony conviction would not be allowed to hold a cannabis business license. The licensing provisions of a separate bill, SB 150, which would take effect only if voters approve legalization at the ballot, would make it so that only existing businesses that currently hold liquor licenses would be eligible to enter the marijuana market. “While we prefer the framework of SB 3, we were very pleased to see both SB 3 and SB 150 pass the Senate today,” Matthew Schweich, director of South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws (SDBML) told Marijuana Moment. “We are now one step closer to reaching a compromise and enacting a legalization law through the Legislature this session.”

Benzinga Staff Writer, The Fresh Toast, 02/24/2022 10:45:00

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