US (SD): Lawmakers off to slow start in regulating cannabis, but industry ramping up

Entrepreneurs across South Dakota are already taking steps to claim a share of the state’s soon-to-be-legal cannabis market, but legislators and regulators are off to a slow start in crafting laws and rules to govern the controversial new industry. 

The sale, possession and use of recreational and medicinal cannabis are set to become legal in South Dakota for the first time on July 1. But when the 2021 South Dakota legislative session started on Jan. 12, only one bill regarding cannabis had been filed.

A group of 15 Republican lawmakers have formed what they call a “Cannabis Caucus” to address cannabis issues this session. But leaders in both the Republican and Democratic parties say discussions on preparing for legalization and regulation of the business of cannabis sales, possession and use — one of the top matters facing the 2021 Legislature — have barely begun.

One high-ranking Senate leader said enacting a regulatory framework for legal cannabis will probably require more than one session of work and will likely spill into the 2022 session or require a special session to complete. 


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