PIERRE, S.D. — One of the biggest challenges facing state lawmakers this session will be crafting the laws and regulations to implement legalized marijuana by July 1.
To begin the process, state representative Mike Derby of West Rapid City and the newly formed ‘Cannabis Caucus’ hosted an educational session for their colleagues this week.
Going into the meeting, Derby said he hoped a few legislators would attend.
By the time it started, the room was packed.
This first meeting included a number of subject-matter experts who discussed how other states are regulating cannabis. They also talked about how the federal government approaches state legalization — even though marijuana is still a federally prohibited drug.
“I don’t know of a single case of the federal government going in and prosecuting a state-compliant cannabis business or participant. I’ve looked. I can’t find it,” said Emmett Reister of Crosswind Cannabis.
Because the use of both medical and recreational marijuana will become legal on July 1 of this year, prospective retailers are already making preparations.
State Senate Majority Leader Gary Cammack warned earlier this week that the legislature will probably not finish all the work necessary by the end of the session and may require either a special session or more work in next year’s session.