Medical marijuana before the South Dakota Legislature
Last update: February 11, 2016
Unfortunately, South Dakota voters will not have the opportunity to decide whether to protect medical marijuana patients in November. The Secretary of State announced that the number of valid signatures submitted by New Approach South Dakota fell short of the requirement, despite a valiant effort.
But, the South Dakota Legislature introduced the language of the ballot initiative as a bill — S.B. 171— and scheduled a hearing on February 17, 2016. Considering that no marijuana policy reform legislation was considered last year, this is a significant step. Please ask your legislators to support this bill and compassionate access to medical marijuana for seriously ill South Dakotans suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions that can be relieved by medical marijuana.
Can medical marijuana help you?
In order to pass medical marijuana legislation, we need to hear from patients who could benefit (or are already benefiting) from medical marijuana. If you are a patient who might benefit from medical marijuana, or if you know somebody who might benefit from medical marijuana, please contact MPP at [email protected] to find out how you can help. Please include your nine-digit zip code or your address, so we can figure out who your state legislators are.
Additionally, if you are a medical professional, law enforcement officer, or a member of the clergy, your help could be particularly valuable. If you would like to volunteer to help with this effort, please email [email protected].
Marijuana laws and enforcement in South Dakota
In 2012, there were 2,297 arrests for marijuana possession in South Dakota, and 127 arrests for marijuana sales. Possession of just a small amount of marijuana in the state carries a potential penalty of a year in jail and a $1,000 fine! Even more alarmingly, a recent study by the American Civil Liberties Union found that South Dakota was among the top 10 states with the largest racial disparities in marijuana possession arrest rates. Despite people of all races using marijuana at nearly identical rates, blacks in South Dakota are nearly 4.8 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.
Click here to ask your legislators to treat marijuana possession as civil offense and eliminate the life-changing consequences triggered by racially-disparate enforcement of the law.
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