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South Dakota activists grade legislators

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A coalition of South Dakota’s three major cannabis organizations has released its own 2022 SD Legislature Cannabis Scorecardwhich analyzes 68 votes on significant cannabis projects during the 2021-2022 legislative session in Pierre and assigns each legislator a grade based on their vote.

In December 2021, South Dakota Supreme Court judges overturned a voter-approved legalization initiative approved by the electorate after finding that it violated the state’s sole subject matter rule. The state’s Republican governor led the litigation. Fifty-four percent of voters had approved the vote measure. This bad decision puts the cannabis problem in the hands of lawmakers.

State coalition activist officials include the South Dakota Cannabis Industry Association, the South Dakota New Approach, and the South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws. He produced the scorecard to educate the public on how his constituents voted on cannabis policy during this year’s legislative session.

68 Weighted votes used for lists

Photo by David Perkins

“During the 2022 legislative session, there was a large number of votes on cannabis-related legislation and our Scorecard is meant to put all the information in one place,” said Matthew Schweich, director of campaign for the South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, which led the 2020 campaign that passed Amendment A and Measure 26. “Our analysis will allow South Dakota voters to quickly and easily assess how their constituents have voted on cannabis projects this year ”.

The Scorecard assigns ratings based on 68 votes, including plan and committee votes. Each vote is given an “Impact Point” based on the degree to which that legislation will advance or damage cannabis reform efforts in South Dakota.

“For the past two sessions, cannabis reform advocates have successfully defeated a significant number of factors that would have negatively affected patients and medical cannabis providers based on Measure 26, the cannabis law. approved by voters in 2020, “said Melissa Mentele. executive director of New Approach South Dakota, the statewide basic cannabis reform organization that played a key role in the 2020 campaign, and the author of Measure 26.

“Despite excessive public support for medical cannabis, there are still many lawmakers in Pierre who are committed to rejecting the will of the people on this issue. Given the political climate, we think accountability is very important.”

Adult eyeing uses legalization as a goal

The Scorecard includes votes on the legalization of recreational cannabis in addition to medical cannabis policy.

“This year, we are closer than ever to passing a recreational cannabis law through the South Dakota Legislature,” said Ned Horsted, executive director of the South Dakota Cannabis Industry Association. of the state for cannabis companies.

“The South Dakota Senate is one of the most conservative legislative chambers in the country to approve the legalization of recreational cannabis in modern times, so the passage of SB 3 has been a huge success. Our Scorecard will allow voters to South Dakota knows who was with them and who did not when they went to the polls on June 7 for the primary election and November 8 for the general election. “

The groups indicated a number of major successes during the 2022 legislative session. Cannabis reform supports the defeated bills that would: repeal the affirmative defense for medical cannabis patients; home cultivation repealed by cannabis patients; illegal edibles of cannabis; and allowed local governments to completely ban all medical cannabis businesses.

Lawyers also pointed to the passage of SB 26 as an important victory. This legislation will improve access to medical cannabis cards by allowing medical assistants and registered nurses of advanced practice (in addition to doctors) to write medical cannabis advice to qualified patients.

“This Scorecard is not intended to reward our allies and punish our opponents,” Schweich said. “It’s an honest and qualitative analysis of this legislative session. Most voters don’t have hours to search through the South Dakota Legislature’s website and track every plan and committee vote and determine how. his State Senator and State Representatives were approaching cannabis. So we did this work for the public with this Scorecard. “

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South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws (SDBML) is a South Dakota political organization that works to establish the best cannabis laws for the people of South Dakota.

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