The 2020 election day has come and gone with South Dakota residents voting on a Constitutional Amendment that now legalizes marijuana in the state.

In a tight race, Amendment A was passed 53.4% to 46.6% which was a lot different than the overwhelming vote to legalize medical marijuana in Amendment 26 which saw it passing 69.2% to 30.8%.

I found one of the craziest statistics from these numbers to be the actual yes votes cast in both Amendments.

Over 260,000 yes votes were cast for the legalization of medical marijuana and over 200,000 yes votes for the legalization of recreational marijuana.

To put it into context, there were more yes votes for legalizing medical marijuana in 2020 than there were votes for Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump who himself won by a landslide in South Dakota this year.

Additionally, there were 25,000 more yes votes for legalizing recreational marijuana and over 80,000 more yes votes for medical marijuana than the 172,000 people who voted for the current Governor of the state in 2018.

The numbers are astonishing and a glaring tell of how citizens like to see the immediate change of something they are voting on as well as the pure volume of voters who came out in 2020.

The high numbers of voters regardless of political party affiliation were great to see in our state and across the country.

The next question becomes, how long until you can buy legal marijuana in the state of South Dakota?

First of all, over the next few months, the state will work on its regulations as far as growing locations, storefronts, and tax methods.

Stores will be able to operate by growing and selling the product with a 15% tax and according to the Amendment, here is how it will be distributed.

After the tax revenue is used by the Revenue Department to cover costs associated with implementing the amendment, 50% of the remaining revenue was set to be appropriated to fund state public schools and 50% would be deposited in the state's general fund.

Not only was this Amendment seen as a win by many for a long-overdue law change, but the underfunded education system and teachers pay will see a boost too which helped drive the passing of Amendment A in the minds of many across the state.

Additionally, individuals will be able to grow up to three plants themselves in jurisdictions where no stores are located.

You are going to need to be 21 and have a valid ID to purchase marijuana once stores fronts open up in the state, just like when purchasing alcohol at a liquor store.

As far as the time frame is concerned, if you look at other states, you get a sense of how quickly this will be put together and the state had to see the polling trends in the YES direction leading one to believe they were prepared for this result.

Nevada passed the legalization of recreational marijuana in a 2016 ballot measure and had legalized use by January 1, 2017.

When Illinois passed the measure through the legislature in 2019, the law went into place on January 1, 2020, and is expected to see revenue range from $2 billion to $4 billion annually at full maturity.

For South Dakota specifically, legalization will become the law on July 1, 2021, and all regulations within the state must be set up and operating by April 1, 2022, 19 days prior to a big date on the marijuana calendar. (4-20)

South Dakota now joins 11 other states who had already legalized marijuana prior to this year's election.


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