Marijuana Could Define 2021 Legislative Session

Nov 10, 2020

 Backers of a marijuana ballot measure say they’re looking forward to working with South Dakota lawmakers on cannabis reform to keep it safe and well regulated. 


But… several state lawmakers have questions about the addition to the state constitution.  


South Dakota voters approved a ballot question to place recreational and medical marijuana—as well as industrial hemp—into the state constitution. 


Marijuana remains illegal in South Dakota and anyone who uses it puts themselves at risk of facing charges.
That’s what one county states attorney says when asked how they’ll handle marijuana charges over the next few months. Voters approved two marijuana measures in Tuesday’s election. Those don’t go into effect until July first of 2021.
Each county may have a different approach to small amount marijuana convictions.

National cannabis advocates say South Dakota’s vote legalizing medical and recreation pot could affect cannabis reform at the federal level.

South Dakota is one of four state legalizing marijuana for adult consumption. New Jersey, Arizona and Montana are also legalizing pot for recreational use.

South Dakota and Mississippi also legalized marijuana for medical use.

New Approach out of Washington DC is a national cannabis organization and pumped in $925 thousand into the South Dakota race.

If South Dakota voters approve either ballot questions that greenlight some form of marijuana, it could complicate firearm transactions, legally.

When a gun is purchased from a licensed dealer, a form from the federal Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms asks if the purchaser is an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or other controlled substance. It warns the use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under federal law regardless of state law.

Marijuana & The "War on Drugs" With Chuck Parkinson

Oct 28, 2020

In The Moment … October 28, 2020 Show 930 Hour 1

 With the general election under a week away, recreational and medical marijuana in South Dakota is on the ballot. Leading up to November 3rd, we have checked in with various professionals regarding enforcement and policy. In the mid-'80s, Chuck Parkinson was on the ground floor when the U.S. Government declared the "War on Drugs."

Reporting on politics and public policy is supported by the Center for Western Studies at Augustana University

SDPB News: July 31

Jul 31, 2020

Why is the state medical association drafting the opposition towards legalizing both recreational and medical marijuana? Plus, how will the state's largest school district plan on safely getting kids back in the classrooms?

The South Dakota State Medical Association is opposing both cannabis ballot questions.

They’re crafting the opposition statement, which will get featured on the general election ballot.

The state medical association says voting no on the ballot questions maintains that marijuana is a hazardous drug and public health concern. They say the use of marijuana for medical purposes carries safety risks by circumventing the Food and Drug Administration approval process.

Proponents behind two marijuana related ballot questions are kicking off their campaign and say they’re confident the measures will pass.

It’s the first statewide vote on cannabis in a decade.


The last time marijuana was on the ballot in South Dakota was 2010, when 63 percent of voters rejected an initiated measure establishing a medical marijuana program.

Unofficial results from the Oglala Sioux Tribe show voters in the Pine Ridge Reservation approving medicinal and recreational marijuana.

In the same referendum, voters rejected allowing alcohol sale in casinos.

Preliminary totals show 82 percent of voters approving medical marijuana and 74 percent approving of recreational marijuana. The results will get certified by the end of the month. The tribal council is expected to enact laws regulating the plant around the same time.

Chase Iron Eyes is a spokesperson for Oglala Sioux Tribal President Julian Bear Runner.

In November, South Dakota voters will decide whether to enshrine recreational use of marijuana into the state constitution.

It’s the second of two marijuana related questions to make the ballot.

Matthew Schweich is the deputy director with the Marijuana Policy Project.  It’s a national organization assisting the group South Dakotan’s For Better Marijuana Laws with it’s signature drive. He says they’re excited to move into the next phase of the campaign.

In the Moment News: June 24-30

Jun 28, 2019

South Dakota state representative Tim Reed explains the five interim task forces that will focus on mental health. South Dakota House Speaker Steve Haugaard and State Senator Reynold Nesiba discuss the implications of marijuana legalization and the opioid crisis on the Northern Plains. Linda Turner goes over this year's Special Education Report. Political Junkies Seth Tupper and Jonathan Ellis talk about "Removing the Stain" of the Wounded Knee Massacre, among other news. SDPB’s Victoria Wicks reports on the hearing of death row inmate Charles Rhines.

Marijuana And ADHD

Apr 8, 2019
Adria Botella

In The Moment ... April 8, 2019 Show 551 Hour 2

A series of talks hosted by Reset ADHD founder and coach Alex Hey continues Tuesday at Boss' Pizza and Chicken on South Minnesota in Sioux Falls.

"Marijuana and ADHD" is the topic of Tuesday's discussion which is free to attend.

Reset ADHD works to provide those struggling with the disorder a chance to hit "reset" on their ADHD. 

South Dakotans possessing edible marijuana products will continue to face a Class 5 felony if they're caught. A bill designed to equalize punishments failed in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 5.

The bill's sponsor says the intoxicants in edibles is the same as in leaf marijuana, but opponents say it's more highly concentrated.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.


In The Moment ... August 2, 2017 Show 147 Hour 2

We welcome Dakota Political Junkies Dana Ferguson with the Sioux Falls Argus Leader and Seth Tupper with the Rapid City Journal. This week we discuss the power of a typo to derail a ballot measure and more.

Chynna Lockett

In The Moment ... April 5, 2017 Show 065 Hour 2

Dakota Political Junkies Dana Ferguson and Denise Ross join us to talk about recreational marijuana and its potential as a ballot measure, which lawmakers might deserve a “furniture” rating in Pierre, and other top South Dakota political headlines of the week.


The group backing two marijuana related ballot questions says they’re concerned about the language of the Attorney General’s explanations.
The Attorney General is tasked with crafting ‘an objective, clear, and simple summary’ of a proposed amendment.
A lawyer assisting the group New Approach South Dakota in passing two ballot questions legalizing recreational and medicinal marijuana says the language in Attorney General Marty Jackley’s summary is unnecessarily strong.

Governor Dennis Daugaard says he won’t support either ballot initiative to legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana.
The Republican governor says he’s never really been supportive of liberalizing marijuana laws.
The group New Approach South Dakota says they are circulating petitions to legalize cannabis in the state.
However, Daugaard says practitioners in some states will distribute medical marijuana cards as a way to make money…

Two Cannabis Ballot Measures Could Reach 2018 Ballot

Nov 28, 2016

Marijuana activists in South Dakota say they will have ballot measures up for vote to legalize both medicinal and recreational marijuana during the 2018 election.

The move comes after the group New Direction South Dakota failed to get medical marijuana on the ballot this year.

In Colorado, Proposition 64 was passed in 2012 to regulate marijuana much like alcohol. The group New Approach South Dakota is basing their recreational use ballot measure off of that proposition.

An expert says drug charges against two non-native men who worked with the Flandreau marijuana operation pose a number of legal questions.

A North Dakota attorney says the case involves issues of tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction between state and tribal governments.

Erin Mairose

  On Wednesday, August 3rd,  South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley announced charges against two men for drug offenses. The men were hired as consultants from a Colorado company that worked to help set up a marijuana resort with the Flandreau Santee Sioux tribe. 

Jackley says Eric Hagen is charged with conspiracy to possess more than 10 lbs of marijuana. Co-conspirator Jonathan Hunt is also charged for alleged drug offenses.

Dana Ferguson is a watchdog state government and political reporter with Argus Leader Media. Kevin Woster is a reporter for KELO-TV, Rapid City Bureau.

Together they represent this week's Dakota Political Junkies and talk with Midday host Lori Walsh about the week's political headlines.

Today's topics include accusations about Flandreu's tribal marijuana crop and memories of the plane crash that shook the state 23 years ago this week.

White Plume Hopes To Plant Hemp In 2017

Mar 30, 2016

Oglala Lakota hemp farmer Alex White Plume says he wants to harvest the wild hemp seeds growing on his land and plant a new crop next year.
In the late 1990’s the Oglala Sioux Tribe legalized industrial hemp, but when White Plume tried to grow it, federal agents seized his crop.

White Plume has been under a federal injunction prohibiting him from growing the crop, but that injunction was recently lifted.

Governor Considering Support Of Medical Marijuana Bill

Feb 26, 2016

Governor Dennis Daugaard is considering supporting a bill that allows one type of medical marijuana. Earlier in the session, he said he would not support Senate Bill 171. The measure has since been amended to only allow one marijuana extract.

Tony Harrison is the South Dakota Fraternal Order of Police national trustee. He’s also in charge of narcotics investigations with the Pennington County Sheriff's Department. Tony Harrison  joins Dakota Midday host Lori Walsh to talk about the FRONTLINE special “Chasing Heroin” on SDPB-TV, and whether or not heroin is a challenge for South Dakota law enforcement officers.

Statehouse Podcast: Transgender Bathrooms, Ed Funding, CAFO’s, Marijuana

Feb 16, 2016
Jenifer Jones

The State House podcast for Tuesday February 16th, 2016 includes coverage of legislation on regulations of transgender bathrooms and locker rooms in schools, education funding, feedlot approval regulations, and drug policy.

Jenifer Jones

The Statehouse Podcast for Sunday, February 7th includes coverage of legislation on medical marijuana, Medicaid expansion, education funding, and government accountability. 


Jenifer Jones

The effort to put medical marijuana before voters in November has hit a stumbling block.   The ballot petition submitted to the Secretary of State’s office failed to receive approval.  

Petition organizers submitted over 16-thousand signatures for verification. The Secretary of State’s Office validation process shows only about 9-thousand met requirements.  About 14-thousand valid signatures are needed.  Organizers have 30-days to challenge the ruling if they choose.   

Committee Passes Bill Allowing Industrial Hemp

Feb 2, 2016

Members of a state House committee voted in favor of a bill allowing the production and sale of industrial hemp. Farmers have to go through a permitting process before growing the crop.

Voters May Again Decide On Medical Marijuana

Nov 10, 2015
Google Images

South Dakota voters may have another chance to approve or turn down medical marijuana.
Proponents of a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for medical use turned in roughly 16-thousand signatures to the Secretary of State’s office.  About 13-thousand are needed to put the issue before voters.  State officials are now working to verify the petitions.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A 19-year-old Sioux Falls man is dead after a weekend shooting that involved drugs and alcohol. Officers say Mikael Ashame died early Saturday morning from a gunshot wound. The man who shot him is in custody, and authorities arrested another person who owns the gun.

Sioux Falls police officials say they responded to a shooting first as a 911 hang up. Someone said a man shot himself, and another story was a man in a ski mask came in and shot someone. The investigation shows one man is dead following an accidental shooting.