Given the drubbing that pot companies had suffered in 2019, it was still a year of cannabis firsts. We observed Canada becoming the first industrialized country to introduce derivative marijuana goods, and saw Illinois do what New Jersey and New York refused to do— legalize recreational weed while passing an expungement provision for people with prior cannabis possession or convictions.
It also appears as though the current year will be packed with marijuana milestones. Mexico, for example, should become the third country in the world to give the green light to adult cannabis use by the end of April at the latest. But the November elections in the United States are expected to be the single biggest event in 2020.
Just as we saw in 2016, when nine states voted on an initiative or amendment to marijuana (eight of which passed), a number of state-level votes on recreational or medicinal cannabis will appear in this year. Nevertheless, none of them will be as unique as what South Dakota brings to the voting booth.
A black American silhouette, partially filled in with cannabis baggies, rolled joints, and a scale.
The State of Mount Rushmore has two separate marijuana initiatives that will appear on the ballot. The first is the South Dakota Cannabis and Hemp Initiative, which would lead to changes to the state constitution if approved. The ballot measure would allow the cultivation, use, transportation and distribution of cannabis by individuals aged 21 and over with possession and distribution limits set at one ounce. It would also allow the State Department of Revenue to manage the issuance of marijuana-related licenses for cultivating, testing, distributors, and so on, effectively putting a 15 per cent excise tax on adult pot purchases. As is consistent with other recreationally legal states, the taxing pot revenue would be used to supplement the budget for in-state education.
Ironically, this provision does not allow cannabis legalised. Nevertheless, it would require the state legislature to pass legislation on the production, processing and selling of hemp by 1 April 2022 at the latest as well as regulations on a medical cannabis program.
The other proposal, dubbed Measure 26, is a constitutional measure designed to create a medical marijuana program for patients with a serious medical condition in South Dakota.