South Dakota solely has one medical hashish dispensary. To make issues worse, some prospects there are still getting busted for pot.
That’s in keeping with the Argus Leader, which reported final week that “officers with the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe mentioned that greater than 100 individuals who’ve been issued tribal medical marijuana identification playing cards have been arrested for the reason that tribe opened South Dakota’s first-ever hashish retailer final yr.”
The tribe opened the dispensary on July 1, 2021, when the brand new legislation formally took impact. No different dispensaries opened on that official begin date, nonetheless, making a grey space between the state and tribe.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and her administration has mentioned that the state wouldn’t acknowledge medical hashish playing cards issued to people who are usually not members of the tribe.
According to the Argus Leader, “the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe has issued about 8,000 medical marijuana playing cards to tribal and non-tribal members,” and “though a number of county- and city-level legislation enforcement businesses and state’s attorneys have eased up on arrests and prosecutions for possession of small quantities of marijuana all collectively, others, just like the Flandreau Police Division are usually not honoring some tribal-issued medical playing cards.”
“They’re taking the playing cards and handing out fines,” Tony Reider, chairman of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, told the newspaper. “However most we don’t learn about, as a result of most individuals are simply paying the fines.”
The continued arrests typify what has been a fraught 15 months since South Dakota voters handed a pair of measures within the 2020 election to dramatically reform the state’s marijuana legal guidelines.
Voters there accredited each a constitutional modification to legalize leisure pot, in addition to an initiated measure to permit medicinal hashish.
However solely the medical legislation nonetheless stands, with the South Dakota Supreme Courtroom ruling in November that the leisure modification was unconstitutional, because it violated the state’s “one topic” requirement for constitutional amendments.
Chief Justice Steven Jensen dominated that Modification A featured “provisions embracing not less than three separate topics, every with distinct objects or functions,” noting that the state structure “not solely features a single topic requirement but in addition directs proponents of a constitutional modification to organize an modification in order that the completely different topics might be voted on individually.”
The choice upheld a decrease court docket’s ruling from earlier within the yr, which got here after Noem and a pair of legislation enforcement officers challenged the modification.
After the state Supreme Courtroom’s ruling on the day earlier than Thanksgiving, Noem struck a celebratory observe.
“South Dakota is a spot the place the rule of legislation and our Structure matter, and that’s what at the moment’s choice is about,” she mentioned in an announcement on the time. “We do issues proper—and the way we do issues issues simply as a lot as what we’re doing. We’re nonetheless ruled by the rule of legislation. This choice doesn’t have an effect on my Administration’s implementation of the medical hashish program voters accredited in 2020. That program was launched earlier this month, and the primary playing cards have already gone out to eligible South Dakotans.”
The Argus Chief reported that South Dakota taxpayers shall be footing the $142,000 in authorized prices related to Noem’s leisure pot problem –– an expense that the governor believes should be shouldered by the advocates behind the modification.
For Noem, a possible 2024 Republican presidential candidate, the hashish dispute has represented a uncommon political misstep. A poll last year discovered that solely 39 % of South Dakota voters approve of her dealing with of the leisure pot matter, whereas 17.8 % mentioned they considerably disapprove and 33.4 % mentioned they strongly disapprove.
These numbers stand in sharp distinction to her general approval ranking of 61 %.
The medical hashish program, in the meantime, has slowly taken form. Enrollment for eligible sufferers began in November, whereas state-recognized dispensaries might open later this yr.