South Dakota Plans for Marijuana Legalization amid COVID-19

Marijuana is illegal in South Dakota. However, the state decided to make both recreational and medical marijuana legal this year.

Sushree Mohanty - Author

Nov. 20 2020, Updated 4:34 p.m. ET

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Marijuana is illegal in South Dakota. However, the state decided to make both recreational and medical marijuana legal this year. South Dakota started its marijuana campaigns to put legalization proposals on the November 2020 ballot. Campaigns have to collect signatures to qualify for the ballot. 

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However, the coronavirus pandemic will probably make it difficult. Now, South Dakota will plan on how to make sure marijuana legalization initiatives pass through in case the pandemic gets worse or isn’t resolved by November. 

South Dakota’s attempt to legalize marijuana

South Dakota attempted to legalize cannabis in the state with two initiatives started by the “South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws” campaign. The initiatives include the following.

  • The first initiative would legalize and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older.
  • The second initiative would establish a medical marijuana law for qualifying patients.
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Marijuana legalization attempts in the US have gone sour while everyone fights the coronavirus pandemic. Currently, public health and containing the spread of the virus are vital. The US, like many other countries, initiated lockdown and self-quarantine measures. All large gatherings and public events are canceled. The new guidelines hinder legalization attempts. Many state campaigns need to gather signatures to qualify for the 2020 ballot. 

However, South Dakota is safe when it comes to qualifying. Both of the state’s initiatives for medical and recreational marijuana legalization gathered enough signatures and qualified for the ballot. South Dakota managed to get the signatures much sooner than the deadline. Notably, residents showed strong support for marijuana legalization this year. 

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Supporters think that legal marijuana will be taxed and regulated. They think that legalizing cannabis would add to the state’s tax revenues. Supporters also favored the idea of obtaining medical cannabis from a licensed dispensary. 

South Dakota might face an issue if the virus outbreak doesn’t improve by November. Individuals would have a hard time voting for the initiatives. As a result, the state decided to use its absentee voting process strategy to solve the problem. 

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Strategizing for cannabis legalization

A Marijuana Moment article discussed Drey Samuelson’s views on how cannabis legalization should continue despite the pandemic. He’s the political director of “South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws.”

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He said, “Yes, our country is facing unprecedented challenges but it is imperative that our democracy continues to function. Thankfully, South Dakota has an absentee voting process that has the potential to make the November election safer for voters and poll workers across the state.” 

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The group is working to raise awareness through social media. Voters will be able to vote absentee if the lockdown continues due to the pandemic. People will still be able to vote and approve the 2020 ballot initiatives.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in New York don’t think that cannabis legalization is a priority right now. They think that legalization could get delayed amid the virus outbreak. To learn more, read New York Senator Wants to Delay Marijuana Legalization.

While the pandemic continues, cannabis stocks have benefited amid the chaos. The pandemic led to a surge in cannabis sales. People rushed to purchase and stock up on marijuana before the lockdown. Many states have declared that marijuana is an essential item. To know more, read COVID-19 Pandemic Made Marijuana an Essential Item.

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The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF closed with a gain of 6.2%. Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB), Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC)(TSE:WEED), Hexo (TSE:HEXO) and Aphria (NYSE:APHA) closed 4.0%, 7.7%, 9.9%, and 8.5% on Wednesday. Many analysts are optimistic about some cannabis stocks like Aphria and OrganiGram. Curaleaf’s impressive fourth-quarter results were also a bonus for the sector. 

Stay with us for the latest updates in the cannabis sector


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