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Frustrations mount over medical, recreational marijuana in South Dakota

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 12:41 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Groups of proponents in the state continue to wait for a State Supreme Court decision of recreational marijuana. They also continue to look for a state program to implement medical marijuana, which was to go into effect July first.

Former U.S. Senator and Majority Leader Tom Daschle, has followed marijuana and the ballots back in his home state.

“I’m not surprised that it passed in South Dakota I’ve talked to a lot of people who share my view that this is the time. We need to de-schedule the whole cannabis problem and we address it from a public policy point of view,” said Daschle. “That can be done at the state and the federal level, it needs to be done at both. South Dakota is primed to do it and how to get the job done.”

Daschle became an advisory with the cannabis investment firm Northern Swan Holdings in 2019. He claims states that have implemented a legal marijuana program have had an economic boom. He also believes South Dakota could benefit financially.

“I’m disappointed but not surprised that it has become as politically divisive, as it has. You know, we’ve seen what success other states have had it’s been an enormous economic boom in many of the states, especially Colorado and Oregon, and Washington State. I mean those states have really had enormous success,” said Daschle.

In Flandreau, Native Nations Cannabis opened on July first. So far, they’ve issued 7,000 medical cannabis cards, allowing those cardholders to purchase from the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe.

Melissa Mentele was the campaign director for Yes on 26 and is the executive director of New Approach South Dakota. She frequently hears from frustrated South Dakotans.

“The continued delays in implementation of both IM26 & Amendment A combined with the 40+ proposed changes to IM26 by the committee is a slap in the face to SD voters. These delays are hurting patients, limiting access, and essentially taking away the voice of the people of SD. In November 2020, SD spoke and very clearly told our Governor we were ready for legal access,” said Mentele.

When Native Nations Cannabis opened, Mentele accepted the position to be director of compliance.

“Almost a year later organizers are working again to put adult-use back on the ballot, waiting on a Supreme Court ruling and patients are still waiting. It’s time for politicians in South Dakota to respect and uphold the will of the people instead of trying to undermine the ballot initiative process,” said Mentele.

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