A legislative committee tasked with spending the summer studying the state’s drug laws plans to recommend more funding for probation, parole and treatment services, but not to adjust the state’s ingestion law.
In its final meeting Friday morning, the committee to study criminal offenses regarding controlled substances agreed that more money should be diverted to addiction treatment, and parole and probation services. But some members disagreed on whether the state should decrease the penalty for ingesting a controlled substance, a topic the Legislature has been circling for years.
Vice-chair of the committee Sen. Craig Kennedy asked the committee to recommend to the full Legislature at the next session to approve House Bill 234, which would move ingestion of a controlled substance to a misdemeanor-level offense. South Dakota is the only state that charges ingestion of a controlled substance as a felony.
“The system we currently have, we’ve had for decades,” Kennedy said. “It hasn’t solved the crisis we’re currently experiencing with drugs, specifically methamphetamine abuse, in South Dakota. In my mind, perhaps we need to look at doing it differently.”
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