Press "Enter" to skip to content

60% of 2022 Bills Filed So Far Deal with Marijuana

Six days before opening the 2022 Session, the South Dakota Legislature has 43 bills in the hopper. 26 of them deal with marijuana. (So much for Rep. Will Mortenson’s [R-24/Pierre] recommendation that the Legislature leave pot to the voters.)

We have the Marijuana Interim Study Committee to blame for this glut of pot bills. That group churned all but one of the cannabis proposals. The committee’s output consists of Senate Bills 3 through 27.

Perhaps the only liberalization of cannabis laws in the entire gob of pot bills is Senate Bill 3, which would take tetrahydrocannabinol, pot’s fun chemical, off the list of Schedule 1 drugs, allow folks 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana or defined equivalents of marijuana products, reduce to misdemeanor adult possession of up to one pound of marijuana, collapse the penalties for possession of larger amounts of marijuana, which currently scale up to Class 3 felony for more than ten pounds, down to Class 6 felony, the least severe felony level, and completely decriminalize ingestion of marijuana. SB 3 creates a state licensing system for growers and dealers (who must be “of good moral character” and have no felony convictions) and reduces the legal penalties for unlicensed growers and dealers. SB 3 still won’t let you toke up in public, at work, or in your car.

Senate Bill 3 alone would largely negate the need for the marijuana legalization initiative currently circulating in South Dakota (whose backers are currently paying to advertise their petition-signing locations on this blog).

Neither Senate Bill 3 nor that proposed initiative creates a new tax on marijuana; Senate Bill 3 just requires growers and dealers to pay sales tax. Senate Bill 25 takes that bite, proposing the 15% excise tax that has cropped up in previous marijuana initiatives. Recall that the Legislative Research Council has estimated that a 15% excise tax on marijuana could generate up to $21.4 million a year for the state budget.

The other 23 interim committee bills tinker with and mostly further restrict the use of medical marijuana, which voters just approved in 2020. Senate Bill 5 sensibly allows employers to restrict medical marijuana users from safety-sensitive jobs. Senate Bill 6 allows landlords to impose “reasonable restrictions” on medical use of cannabis on their properties. Senate Bill 8 increases the maximum civil penalty medical cannabis establishments can face for violations from $150 to $1,000, though it does remove the provision of civil penalties for cardholders. Senate Bill 9 changes just one word in the definition of caregiver: “person” becomes “individual”, which indicates that currently, a caregiver may be a corporation or other entity. Senate Bill 10 would require patients to present photo ID to get medical cannabis. Senate Bill 17 clarifies that workers compensation insurance carriers and self-insured employers don’t have to reimburse medical marijuana costs. Senate Bill 20 narrows the ability to assert medical purposes as a defense against cannabis-related charges to individuals who have their medical cannabis card in their physical possession at the time of the alleged offense.

Senate Bill 23 tightens the definition of “bona fide practitioner-patient relationship” to include an expectation of ongoing follow-up care and monitoring and prevent one-off visits solely to get a pot card. Senate Bill 26 at least expands the practitioners who can authorize medical marijuana to include physician assistants and nurse practitioners alongside physicians.

The only non-committee cannabis bill is House Bill 1004, Rep. Fred Deustch’s (R-4/Florence) proposal to prohibit patients and caregivers who are authorized to possess medical marijuana from growing their own cannabis. Obviously Deutsch and his four fellow Republican sponsors do not believe in self-sufficient gardening or individual freedom from Big Pharma.

That’s not quite half of the marijuana measures in the hopper, and legislators still have until February 3 to submit new bills (not to mention as long as they want to surprise us with hoghouse proposals). If no one else proposes cannabinoid bills, and if the Legislature matches last year’s production of 478 bills, those 26 pot bills would drop from 60% of the current hopper content to 5.4%, or a bit more than 1 out of 20 bills in the hopper.

Readers, light up your jokes about the smoke-filled rooms in Pierre….


  1. larry kurtz 2022-01-05

    Enabling South Dakota Republicans to write cannabis law is a worst case scenario for entrepreneurs not part of an Indigenous community where the industry already has a great head start. The psychopathic legislature should simply legalize for all adults then step aside and watch the tribal nations in occupied South Dakota build equity for their people.

  2. Nix 2022-01-05

    Bananas are illegal.
    If you get caught with bananas you will be arrested.
    Possibly more jail time if you have a lot of bananas on you.
    If you eat a banana and we test you for that during a traffic stop you will be arrested for ingesting bananas.
    This doesn’t make any sense.
    Oh, how will the good people of South Dakota fix this because a lot of people want to enjoy bananas.
    Let’s pass a law that allows people to
    legally eat bananas.
    Let’s move forward.
    The monkeys in Pierre need to massage
    the law slightly.
    Good Lord, what a zoo.
    I’m going to go eat a banana.

  3. Amy B. 2022-01-05

    I recently talked to someone involved in local government about this and they said that they had talked to several legislators and the ‘word on the street’ is that the legislature is leaning to passing this issue. They don’t want it to go to the voters again. This way they have more control of the whole thing. Fingers crossed that enough Republican legislators have grown a spine over the last year to stand up and do what the voters want and not be bullied by the governor.

  4. Ryan 2022-01-05


    the vast majority of people say: “we should be able to treat medical conditions with medicine recommended by our doctors.”

    the legislature says: “understood, so let’s not treat this as medicine at all. you’re welcome.”


  5. O 2022-01-05

    Why don’t destructive opiates get this much attention/regulation?

  6. Mark Anderson 2022-01-05

    You would think that those opposed to any usage of Marijuana would just relax, have a few drinks and ban anything that might give anyone a smile. Even though the GOP are some of the best stand up comedians around.

  7. Loren 2022-01-05

    Ironic! The ones most up tight about marijuana sales are probably the ones that would most benefit from its mellowing effects.

  8. Porter Lansing 2022-01-05

    I remember very well when Colorado did these baby steps.
    See, grudnix.
    My long-term memory isn’t a bit impaired.
    Senate Bill 3 is what you’ve needed for ten years.
    Hey, wait.
    SD is ten years behind the times?
    You’ve at least caught up by five.

  9. John Dale 2022-01-05

    I’ve tried to warn the politico and cannabis advocates about this intractable situation.

    Very poor leadership politically, and Noem’s biggest chink in the armor.

    And it was so avoidable.

    Noem’s team was informed about the dynamics of this issue, and they still walked her off the cliff.

    She claimed I wasn’t intelligent, essentially, because I use Cannabis at every possible opportunity, and I have proven effective at my work (perhaps even more effective).


  10. Arlo Blundt 2022-01-05

    Well…the states that have legalized pot do not seem to have enforcement issues…even the “grow your own” states which I and John Dale (politics make strange bedfellows ) support. Grew my own 30 years ago with differing results, but felt quite comfortable with 4 or 5 plants in the garden and didn’t feel I was any threat to the Republic. Quit smoking pot for personal and family reasons but believe its really a minor issue. It is nothing to infringe personal freedom over.

  11. larry kurtz 2022-01-05

    Few things would please me more than to see the Crow Nation buy property in Spearditch and open a dispensary to test their tribal sovereignty.

  12. Mark Anderson 2022-01-05

    Oh Porter, the only good thing about Colorado was Zephyr. That was a long time ago and the fantastic Tommy Bolin was from Sioux City. Saw him in Vermillion none the less. Candy Givens was from Colorado and she was stunning too. John Dale just proves my statement that Libertarians are just Republicans that smoke dope. How can a total red state allow in Mary Jane, not going to happen folks.

  13. JO 2022-01-05

    Golly gee I feel so lucky to have progressive MS! (Just kidding). It means I qualify because of follow up visits with my Primary Care MD. Duh. The use of marijuana vastly improved my abilities to perform activities of daily living because as the diagnosis is progressive every day is a challenge. And am sure many others could agree because of their diagnoses. I am getting pretty dang frustrated with the legislature mucking up the choice of the voters. I am going to avoid profanity since I have a very good vocabulary of many words that would really describe my anger.

  14. grudznick 2022-01-05

    Mr. Dale, I can tell when you’ve toked up before breakfast at the Millstone there just off the interstate.

  15. Porter Lansing 2022-01-05

    Mark – Were you at the ENERGY show in the lunchroom at the Quad? Next night I rode with Tommy’s brother to see them, again in Sioux City.

  16. larry kurtz 2022-01-05

    How is Republican Jim Bolin related:
    grandfather? He sure looks like he’s old enough.

  17. larry kurtz 2022-01-05

    Tommy Bolin was born in 1951 so if Jim was his grandfather that would make him about 110. He sure looks that old.

  18. jerry 2022-01-05

    Jim Bolin was even to old for Betty White.

  19. grudznick 2022-01-05

    Lar, if you and Ms. Mentele didn’t keep screwing the pooch with your sloppily written law bills, you wouldn’t have this problem. Now the Republicans you fellows out there who are not out-of-state name-callers send to Pierre will have to fix it for Lar.

  20. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-01-05

    John Dale: Noem claimed you aren’t intelligent? To your face? Can we get her statements on the record?

  21. grudznick 2022-01-05

    I am sure Ms. Noem does not know who is Mr. Dale. But just because you are paranoid, Mr. Dale, doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.

  22. larry kurtz 2022-01-05

    I warned Melissa Mentele long ago that the legislature would void all the work her organizations performed to get measures on ballots. The industry is in good hands with tribal communities.

  23. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-01-05

    Well of course she doesn’t know him, not if she’s calling him dumb. John, post the tape!

  24. Mark Anderson 2022-01-05

    Porter, that’s it for sure. Don’t remember the date.

  25. grudznick 2022-01-05

    The anarchy of the demon weed will feed grudznick’s need for chaos. The stench of the smoke from the wild-eyed brain-fogged doper boys will wretch grudznick’s need to be fed breakfast.

    Thankfully, those slackard tokers stay in bed until long after first breakfasts are served.

  26. Porter Lansing 2022-01-06

    As Larry notes, the governmental overreach for a rec weed license is near criminal. In CO such a license is $5000. And, each town council sets the number of licenses available. My little town and 70% of towns in CO have chosen to decline the option of having dispensaries and retail stores.

  27. Porter Lansing 2022-01-06

    Excuse the error. I meant to post the price of a “med” weed license in SD is near criminal overreach.
    Marijuana is so passe’ in CO these days, it’s easy to combine the two.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.