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Senate passes bill that would legalize recreational marijuana


State senators are passing a bill that would legalize and tax recreational marijuana.

The bill arose from a summer study that looked at both recreational and medical cannabis. Voters legalized recreational and medical marijuana in 2020, but the constitutional amendment legalizing recreational marijuana was struck down by the courts.

Republican Sen. Michael Rohl, of Aberdeen, is the prime sponsor of the bill. He says there's still a long road ahead.

“But, there’s no doubt that this vote sent shockwaves through the Midwest,” Rohl says. “There are other legislators across the country who are going to see this vote and I think it’s going to open their eyes to react in a way that their constituents want and their people want. I think there’s been a pretty big movement across the country, in general, to either decriminalize or regulate the sale of marijuana. I think this was a great first step. I think it’s important for the people of South Dakota to know that their elected officials in the Senate listen to them.”

The bill narrowly passed the Senate 18-17.

It now heads to the House, where lawmakers have signaled reluctance to legalize adult-use marijuana.