Bills dealing with recreational marijuana clear the Senate

PIERRE, S.D.(SDBA)- The bill to decriminalize and regulate adult-use marijuana narrowly passed the Senate with a vote of 18 to 17. Under the legislative rules, most bills only require a simple majority to pass out of the chamber.

Republican Senator Lee Schoenbeck of District 5 put forward an intent to reconsider motion, which would have triggered a re-vote if the motion was approved by the Senate. He withdrew his motion, so the passage of Senate Bill 3 was maintained. 

Senate Bill 3 reduces the charge for possessing small amounts of marijuana from a felony to a misdemeanor for people over the age of 21. It also adjusts the classes for misdemeanors and felonies related to marijuana.

Republican Senator David Wheeler of District 22 supports the bill. He says passing the bill has a two-fold focus.

Opponents of the bill argue the legislature should wait and see how voters vote on a pending initiated measure that would legalize adult-use marijuana in the state.

The Senate also passed Senate Bill 25 with a vote of 32 to 3. This bill provides for a 15% tax on adult-use marijuana products and the manufacturing of those products.

Both bills will now go to the House floor for further consideration. A similar bill regulating and taxing adult-use marijuana failed in the House.