The rollercoaster ride to adult-use cannabis legalization in South Dakota came to a screeching halt March 3, when House members voted to put it to rest for the remainder for this session.
The legislation, Senate Bill 3, aimed to legalize up to 1 ounce of cannabis for possession and use by adults 21 and older. The South Dakota Senate voted 18-17 to pass the measure Feb. 23, but it arrived in a less receptive House earlier this week.
South Dakota House State Affairs Committee members voted 8-3 on Feb. 28 to delay consideration of S.B. 3 to March 29—one day after the state Legislature’s 2022 session ends—essentially killing the adult-use legalization effort for all intended purposes.
But the ride continued with a “smoke out” vote March 1, when Rep. Greg Jamison, a Sioux Falls Republican, gathered 25 colleagues in the 70-member chamber for the political maneuver that revived the bill. Under the smoke-out rule, 24 members needed to be onboard with bringing the bill back to life.
House Speaker Spencer Gosch told the chamber that day, “Just for the record, we’re smoking out a weed bill.”
But even after the political maneuver extended the life of the bill, House members voted 40-28 on March 3 to not formally calendar it, essentially defeating the bill, again, for this legislative session.
In response to the legislation’s ultimate demise, legalization advocate Matthew Schweich, who directs the South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws campaign, said the House’s failure to act only delays the inevitable.
“We will continue our signature drive and put legalization back on the ballot this November,” he said on social media. “And we will win for a second time. We've done it before; we'll do it again.”