If you are living in South Dakota, you may be about to receive the best news that you’ve ever heard in your entire life. South Dakota is now the first state to legalize adult-use and medical cannabis at the same time. If you are unaware of how marijuana is usually legalized in states, it’s not normally like this! In pretty much every other state, legal cannabis starts off with medical-grade cannabis being legalized for a very limited amount of qualifying conditions.
For some states, only the most severe diagnoses and end-of-life conditions are what enable a medical patient to qualify for receiving medical-grade cannabis. However, most states loosen up on restrictions over time to allow people suffering from non-terminal disease, chronic pain, or mental health disorders to have access to medical marijuana as well.
Even further down the road, once medical patients and programs have been long established, some states will take the cannabis train further down the track and legalize the use of recreational marijuana for all adults that are over the age of 21. This means that even individuals who do not qualify for the existing medical marijuana programs can still legally purchase and consume cannabis from local dispensaries and growers that are licensed and registered.
Hopefully, you can now see why what happened in South Dakota was such an anomaly. Usually, the battle for legalizing cannabis is hard-fought with little progress, but that is simply not the case in this state. So what happened? Why is it that South Dakota suddenly decided to legalize cannabis in pretty much every way possible? Well, keep reading and you will definitely find out.
To start with, it is important to note that there has been a growing number of states that have legalized cannabis over the past few years. As more and more states continue to legalize marijuana, it becomes easier for states to adopt the same policies and mirror policies of other states. There are now over 30 states in the U.S. that have legalized medical marijuana, and 14 of those have also legalized recreational marijuana for the use of adults over the age of 21.
It makes sense that other states in the country will be quicker to adopt the same policies if they have seen the positive results taking place in other states due to the legalization of marijuana. It is also worth mentioning that there has been a huge shift in the beliefs and associations that people have with marijuana. Rather than seen as some illegal drug that does nothing but cause problems and create lazy people, marijuana is now becoming more seen as a great alternative medical option for treating chronic diseases and managing pain, stress, and anxiety.
There are way more conditions that medical marijuana can help with than just those, but those are some of the most common ones that I wanted to talk about. When it comes to South Dakota, the projected cost of managing patients from 2016 to 2030 will be over $113 billion, and almost 500,000 patients in South Dakota have one or more chronic diseases. It’s no secret that caring for these individuals is going to be extremely expensive. When you are looking at it from that perspective, it makes sense that a medical marijuana program would alleviate some of the financial strain that the state could be going through.
Voters in South Dakota have chosen that they would like access to medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. Honestly, I think this is a huge step in the right direction for our country and I hope that more states follow suit.