South Dakota: House Members Approve Legislation to Delay Implementation of Voter-Approved Medical Cannabis Law

Members of the South Dakota House of Representatives voted 40 to 28 today in favor of House Bill 1100, which significantly delays the implementation of Measure 26, the medical cannabis access law overwhelmingly approved by voters in November.

As passed by voters, Measure 26 is directed to take effect on July 21, 2021. House Bill 1100, which is backed by Governor Noem and other legislative leaders, pushes back this timeline until early 2022. As initially introduced, the bill sought to delay the law’s implementation for at least one year. However, House lawmakers agreed to amend the bill, which now calls on regulators to begin issuing identification cards to patients by no later than May 15, 2022.

House lawmakers rejected a separate amendment, which was advocated for by Measure 26’s proponents, that sought to provide legal protections for patients who possessed medical cannabis prior to the law’s new enactment date.

HB 1100 will now be transmitted to the Senate for further consideration.

Yesterday, the South Dakota Senate also approved separate legislation establishing the framework for the implementation of Amendment A, another voter-approved ballot measure legalizing and regulating the retail sale of marijuana for all adults. The fate of Amendment A remains unclear. Earlier this month, a Circuit Court judge ruled in favor of litigation backed by the Governor’s office that seeks to nullify Constitutional Amendment A on the basis that it encompasses more than one topic and therefore violates the state’s ’single subject rule’ requirement. Proponents of Amendment A are expected to appeal this decision.

Fifty-four percent of voters decided in favor of Amendment A on Election Day, while nearly 70 percent voted in favor of Measure 26. Republican Gov. Kristi Noem publicly opposed both ballot measures. 

NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “The will of the voters is clear. They want a legal marijuana marketplace and they want patients to be able to access medical cannabis as soon as possible. These cynical efforts to undermine and delay the enactment of these voter-approved measures is an affront to the very constituents that these lawmakers are in office to serve.”

If you live in South Dakota, send a message to your senators in opposition to proposed delays to medical cannabis implementation.

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