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South Dakota could change its tune on hemp and recreational marijuana


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While the federal government made waves by legalizing hemp in 2018, states across America have taken their own approaches to the substance and others like it.


Most Americans have seen the widespread proliferation of cannabis legalization at the state level and the wider acceptance of legal CBD products that don’t get users high like marijuana. While some states have been at the cutting edge of the marijuana industry, others have dragged their feet for their own reasons.


Now, South Dakota is considering a liberalization of its cannabis laws with a referendum this year.


According to the Argus Leader, the South Dakota secretary of state announced Monday the new amendment working its way through the state’s legislative process could have the potential to legalize marijuana in the state if passed later in 2020. [2]


The vote will take place on the November 3, 2020 ballot and would apply to all South Dakotans over the age of 21, according to reporting from the Southern Illinoisan. [3]


Matthew Schweich of the Marijuana Policy Initiative told the Southern that the referendum “will greatly benefit the people of South Dakota by ending the injustice of arresting otherwise law-abiding adults for marijuana offenses.” [3]


Eleven states in the U.S. have now legalized recreational marijuana, while twice that have passed some form of medical marijuana provisions, the Southern reports. [3]


According to the Argus Leader, Switch said no other state has voted on both recreational and medical marijuana on the same ballot vote, making South Dakota a first nationally. [2]


While recreational and medical marijuana have been growing in popularity, they remain polarizing among many across the country.


Folks who are skeptical of the mental high associated with marijuana, professional problems associated with marijuana use and other concerns often look to different avenues to find the relaxation and other benefits of weed.


This is largely why CBD has grown so popular in the past year. Industrial hemp was legalized in 2018 and 2019 saw the explosion of CBD products, which many across the country say has helped them with their chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety and other problems.

While more research is needed to clarify the extent of CBD’s benefits, testimonials and preliminary studies certainly seem promising, and the acceptance of medical and recreational marijuana in South Dakota and other states would surely mean a boon to the CBD space, as well.


The South Dakota state government is not the only group looking to reevaluate its stance on pot. According to Roll Call, the Flandreau Santee Sioux are also looking to take up industrial hemp farming as an economic endeavor. [1]


Industrial hemp has uses in textiles, rope-making and even bioplastics, and promises to be a hearty cash crop due to its new-found usefulness in CBD production.


Sources

[1] https://www.rollcall.com/news/congress/south-dakota-tribe-clears-hemp-plan-governor-opposes-industry

[2] https://www.argusleader.com/story/news/politics/2020/01/06/south-dakota-2020-election-legalize-recreational-marijuana-ballot/2829008001/

[3] https://thesouthern.com/news/national/govt-and-politics/south-dakotans-to-vote-on-legalizing-recreational-marijuana/article_92cc36ef-9a84-55dc-962d-2c73a3882525.html

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