Marijuana Legalization: South Dakota Does What Trump Said!

Marijuana legalization is ramping up. Now, South Dakota is taking President Trump’s advice. The state is kicking off a petition to legalize cannabis.

Sushree Mohanty - Author

Nov. 20 2020, Updated 3:41 p.m. ET


Marijuana legalization is ramping up. President Trump said that states should make the legalization decision. As a result, multiple states are gearing for legalization. Wisconsin is set to legalize medical marijuana. Now, South Dakota is taking President Trump’s advice. The state is kicking off a petition to legalize cannabis. Let’s take a look.

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South Dakota kicks off marijuana legalization

Cannabis is illegal in South Dakota. Overall, the laws have been pretty strict. South Dakota’s administration didn’t legalize industrial hemp last year. Now, the state is ready to legalize medical and recreational cannabis.

Medical cannabis legalization attempts have failed numerous times in South Dakota. However, the state seems determined to make legalization happen this time. “South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws” is the newly formed political campaign attempting to legalize marijuana in the state. A Leafly article stated that the campaign plans two marijuana reform ballot initiatives for next year.

  • The first ballot targets legalizing and regulating marijuana for adults 21 and older. Also, the ballot would direct the legislature to enact laws regulating hemp cultivation and sales.
  • The second ballot would establish a medical marijuana law for qualifying patients.

Activists want to collect 30,000 signatures by October 31. The signatures will qualify the medical legalization initiative on the November 2020 statewide ballot. The state needs a minimum of 17,000 verified signatures to qualify.

The “South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws” campaign has an official website. Volunteers can contact New Approach South Dakota. Notably, volunteers can donate or get involved to ensure that South Dakotans get to vote on medical marijuana.

Republican opposition isn’t surprising

We aren’t surprised when a Republican opposes marijuana legalization. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, a Republican, said that legalizing industrial hemp is like legalizing marijuana by default. Republicans don’t fully support cannabis legalization.

In contrast, Democrats support marijuana legalization. Presidential candidates Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Yang, Bernie Sanders, and Cory Booker support legalization. In South Dakota, Brendan Johnson, a Democrat and former federal prosecutor, represents the reform initiative. According to Times Colonist, Johnson said, “I don’t want to have a political fight with the governor. President Trump said it is an issue for states to decide and that is what we want South Dakotans to do.”

Kristin Wileman, the governor’s press secretary, said,” Governor Noem believes that the experiments many states are taking with legalized marijuana will end badly. It’s her goal to make South Dakota an example to the nation of a state that’s tough on drugs.”

When there’s a Republican-controlled government, it’s hard to predict how things will turn out. We’ll have to see what happens in South Dakota.

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Support for marijuana legalization in South Dakota

Meanwhile, the support looks strong in South Dakota. The new campaign will allow voters in South Dakota to decide on the 2020 ballot. Apparently, the Marijuana Policy Project’s deputy director, Matthew Schweich, said that internal polling in the states showed that both the reforms have enough support this time.

Supporters think that legalizing recreational marijuana will allow cannabis to be regulated and taxed. Therefore, legalization will add tax revenues to the state and reduce opioid deaths.

Supporters also think that the medical cannabis initiative will allow patients to obtain marijuana from a licensed dispensary. North Dakota legalized medical cannabis in 2016. Notably, Minnesota also seems ready.

Medical cannabis is gaining support 

So far, the health benefits drive states to support marijuana legalization. However, recreational use is still doubtful. The Trump administration wants additional research before the decision reaches the federal level. Canadian cannabis players continue to focus on growing their medical cannabis business.

Despite reporting disappointing fourth-quarter results, Aurora Cannabis (ACB) saw continued growth in its Canadian and international medical marijuana business. The company saw an 86% sequential increase in kilograms of medical cannabis produced. So far, the stock has fallen 13.4% in September.

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For Canopy Growth (CGC)(WEED), the gross revenues from the Canadian and international medical channel were 23.6 million Canadian dollars in the first quarter of 2020. Canopy Growth expects global medical revenues to increase in upcoming quarters. To support medical marijuana, Canopy Growth launched a medical marijuana training program in Montreal. So far, the stock has gained 1.8% in September.

Aphria (APHA) also saw an increase in the total kilograms of cannabis sold in the fourth quarter. The company sold 5,574-kilogram equivalents of cannabis in the fourth quarter—an increase of 111%. Medical marijuana accounted for 1,417-kilogram equivalents. The company’s EBITDA increased to 0.2 million Canadian dollars. The EBITDA increased due to higher net revenues and higher gross profits. So far, the stock has fallen 8.9% in September.

On the recreational cannabis front, the companies are getting ready for Canada’s second wave of edible expansion next month. To learn more, read Cannabis 2.0: Aurora Cannabis Gears Up for Edibles Market.

President Trump could take some action 

President Trump might be losing traction in the 2020 election. A recent survey showed that voters favor Joe Biden and other candidates over President Trump. Right now, marijuana is a hot topic in the US. More Americans support marijuana legalization. States are gearing up to legalize marijuana including Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Florida.

Other countries support cannabis legalization. Even Mexico will seal the deal soon too. President Trump needs to show some support for cannabis. I think that he could benefit from supporting medical marijuana.

To learn more about the cannabis industry’s status in other states, read New York: Curaleaf Launched Cannabis Flower Products and Medical Marijuana Faces Setback in Ohio.


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