Dakota Rural Action Announces Support For Cannabis Measures


Recently the Dakota Rural Action Board of Directors voted to support Amendment A and Initiated Measure 26. IM-26 is a comprehensive cannabis medical access initiative. Amendment A is an adult-use cannabis state constitutional amendment. 

In addition, Amendment A mandates the Legislature pass laws regulating the cultivation, processing and sale of hemp. This is needed as South Dakota’s regulations regarding the cultivation and transportation of hemp remain restrictive and confusing. Requiring the SD Legislature to fully address this issue in an environment where cannabis is legal would be an important step forward. 

Amendment A would also guarantee the SD Legislature can’t change or repeal Initiated Measure 26, a very important point given how, in 2017 the Legislature ignored public outcry and repealed IM-22, the South Dakota Anti-Corruption Act, in 2017. Following the successful passage of the measure on the 2016 ballot.

Almost every member of the DRA board said they would benefit from the medical use of cannabis or they had family members who would benefit for its use. “Both my grandfather and mother in law benefited from the use of marijuana to stimulate their appetite, reduce their pain and combat the side effects of chemotherapy.  In contrast, my South Dakota cousin also fought cancer without marijuana. Instead relying on opioids which left her too medicated to enjoy the little time she had left,” said Stacy Roberts, a DRA board member from Carpenter, SD. 

Adult use cannabis allows people to make healthcare decisions without having to fight with insurance and pharmaceutical companies for effective, lower-cost treatments with few side effects. People should have the freedom in this country to make healthcare decisions without undue government interference. 

Currently marijuana cannot legally be transported across state lines. Passage of Amendment A will mandate that all cannabis will have to be grown and packaged inside our state, which will necessitate hiring South Dakotans to construct grow buildings and dispensaries and create  jobs for plumbers, electricians, and workers to staff dispensaries. The measure will also provide opportunity for farmers as the cannabis has to be produced in South Dakota. This promises to be a substantial economic boon to the state and for farmers. 

According to the SD Legislative Research Council, Amendment A will increase state tax revenues to $29 million in 2024—a huge benefit to the state.  Half of this money will be dedicated to SD public schools, potentially reducing property taxes. 

“Farmers and ranchers are facing extraordinary tough times right now. Fixing South Dakota’s restrictive and confusing hemp rules will help. More importantly, access to cannabis for people who need it to help their health conditions and control symptoms was a big reason we support these measures,” said Nick Nemec, a DRA board member from Holabird, SD.