(The Center Square) – Marijuana use and sales were the main topics of legislation filed by South Dakota lawmakers a week before they return to Pierre for the 2022 legislative session.
The majority of cannabis-related bills are coming from members of the Marijuana Interim Study Committee that addressed medical and recreational marijuana during three meetings held last year.
Senate Bill 3 legalizes recreational use of an ounce or less of marijuana for anyone over the age of 21 but adds stipulations that make it a Class 2 misdemeanor to drive while consuming the drug and bars is its use at places of employment.
A separate bill – Senate Bill 25 – requires marijuana manufacturers to pay a 15% excise tax based on the average market rate.
South Dakota voters approved a referendum in November 2020 that would have legalized marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes. The South Dakota Supreme Court struck down the amendment a year later, saying the amendment should not have addressed more than one subject.
A group called South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws (SDBML) is seeking signatures on a petition that would put the issue before voters again in November. The group had 15,000 signatures in early December and was needing another 10,000, according to a news release. Its hope, however, is the Legislature would pass a bill, said Matthew Schweich, campaign director for SDBML.
Also filed Tuesday by the Committee on Appropriations is a bill that would set aside $8 million to modernize the state’s reemployment assistance system, formerly known as unemployment insurance. The majority of the funding, $6.5 million, would come from federal funds with the remaining $1.5 million coming from the general fund.
Several Republican lawmakers have filed a bill called “An Act to promote continued fairness in women’s sports.” Gov. Kristi Noem announced a draft of the bill last year that would ban transgender women from competing in girls’ sports.
Rep. Fred Deutsch, R-Florence, filed a bill that would allow employees who claim they were harmed by a vaccination required by their employer to file a claim against the employer. The bill does not specifically mention the COVID-19 vaccine.
Lawmakers return to Pierre on Jan. 11. Noem is scheduled to give her State of the State address at noon that day.