On Wednesday, a South Dakota legislative panel proposed that the state’s medicinal marijuana laws ban patients from growing marijuana at home.
A group of legislators has made a recommendation to the South Dakota Legislative subcommittee. They are collaborating to devise rules to restrict the provisions of Initiated Measure 26 (IM26), a ballot measure to decriminalize medical marijuana which was passed by almost 70% of the voters in South Dakota in the general election held in November 2020.
A subcommittee of the South Dakota Marijuana Summer Study Committee, a body of legislators formed to propose modifications to IM 26, made the statement. Aside from banning home cultivation, the panel is contemplating removing legal safeguards for marijuana companies and their lawyers, as well as allowing municipal governments to prevent cannabis enterprises from operating in their jurisdictions.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem stated that the medical marijuana initiative will be postponed after the approval of IM 26 and a second ballot proposal to legalize cannabis for adult use. Despite state law, which states that passed ballot initiatives take effect on July 1 of the year after their approval, which would have been this year, the postponement occurred.
Governor Noem said in a statement, “We are working diligently to get IM 26 implemented safely and correctly. The feasibility of getting this program up and running well will take additional time. I am thankful to our legislative leaders for helping make sure that we do this right.”
Kent Peterson, House Majority Leader and a Republican, voted in favor of the postponement, arguing that additional time was required to develop a viable strategy to execute the legislation.
Patients’ grown marijuana will be transferred to the illegal market, according to lawmakers who favor abolishing personal cannabis farming. Representative Fred Deutsch, a Republican, also mentioned the potential of robbers targeting residential cultivation.
Other legislators pointed out that in at least twelve states where medical marijuana is allowed, patients are not permitted to cultivate their own medication. Home growing must not be permitted as per Colorado regulatory authorities, says Republican state Rep. Rhonda Milstead.
It’s not just Medical Marijuana, Recreational Marijuana also Under Threat
Nevertheless, not all members of the subgroup agree with the panel’s recommendations. Taylor Rehfeldt, a Representative who too is a Republican, said she couldn’t support amendments that restrict patient access or don’t follow the will of the voters. She does, however, favor enabling cities and counties to ban cannabis companies from operating in their jurisdictions.
Rehfledt was quoted as saying, “I voted for local control, partly because I know there are rural communities who did not pass medical marijuana with a majority and I’m trying to consider their needs.”
Noem is also working to reverse South Dakota voters’ ratification of Amendment A, a proposed constitutional amendment that would decriminalize and regulate adult-use recreational marijuana. A lawsuit was lodged on behalf of the governor challenging the proposal, which received 54 percent of the votes in the 2020 general election. A judge from the South Dakota circuit court decided in April that the amendment was unlawful and nullified it.
The matter was subsequently moved to the Supreme Court of South Dakota in April, which heard both parties’ arguments. Representative Hugh Bartels, a Republican who heads a panel looking at adult-use cannabis legislation, said the court is currently debating whether Measure A is constitutional or not.