No sensible marijuana policies proposed this session
Last update: August 13, 2015
In 2015, no marijuana policy reform was proposed at all in the South Dakota Legislature. However, the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe opted in June to legalize cannabis. The tribe is the first in the nation to legalize marijuana, following the Justice Department’s December 2014 decision to allow Native American tribes to do so. The tribe will be growing and selling cannabis on South Dakota tribal lands by December 2015.
Meanwhile, the state lags far behind. 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.
Will next year be the year sensible marijuana policy reform is brought to South Dakota? Please ask your legislators to stand up for patients and to support imposing a civil fine — not possible jail time — on simple possession of marijuana. You can also ask them to support a new, more sensible approach to marijuana by legalizing, regulating, and taxing it like alcohol for adults’ use.
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].
Thank you for supporting the Marijuana Policy Project. If you have not already, please subscribe to our free legislative alert service to stay up-to-date on the status of marijuana policy reform in South Dakota.