PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Saying voters sent them to the Capitol to make decisions, a majority of representatives in the state House decided Monday afternoon that homegrown marijuana should be outlawed in South Dakota, no matter what those same voters said about medical cannabis.

The 41-29 vote sent HB 1004 to the Senate for further consideration. The Senate had delayed action earlier Monday afternoon on a separate bill that would cap homegrown at three plants per medical cardholder. The three-plant maximum would match a state Department of Health rule approved last year.

IM 26 that voters passed two years ago legalizing medical marijuana set a three-plant minimum for cardholders who wanted to grow their own.

The proposed ban’s prime sponsor, Representative Fred Deutsch, R-Florence, served on the marijuana study committee last year. He said people from Colorado told the marijuana study committee that homegrown there is associated with increased crime and black-market activity, has put law enforcement at risk and was impossible to regulate.

Deutsch argued that banning homegrown in South Dakota “probably” would be the most important of the 30 marijuana bills the Legislature could see this session. “All around us we have legal marijuana, but we don’t have legal homegrown,” he said about neighboring states. ”Let’s not permit homegrown in our state. Let’s not be Colorado.” 

Representative Taylor Rehfeldt, R-Sioux Falls, took the other side. A certified nurse anesthetist, she agreed that homegrown was a difficult topic, but she urged that people keep in mind what’s best for patients regarding access, choices, and cost. “Medical marijuana is expensive, and some people will not be able to afford it,” Rehfeldt said. 

Representative Aaron Aylward, R-Harrisburg, voted against the bill, too, but for a political reason. He read from the South Dakota Republican Party platform and asked, “How can you support a bill like this and still be Republican?” 

Representative Rhonda Milstead, R-Hartford, said that protecting natural rights includes lives and property. She said cartels will come to South Dakota just as they came to Colorado: “I think we’re inviting trouble to our state if we don’t treat this like medical and keep it limited.” 

Representative Ryan Cwach, D-Yankton, said South Dakota’s program is for medical cannabis while Colorado legalized recreational marijuana. He said the only ones who can home-grow in South Dakota are medical cardholders whose registry cards permit it. “So the cartel’s not going to be running here,” he said.

Representative Doug Barthel, R-Sioux Falls, a retired police chief for the city, said South Dakota sheriffs and police chiefs support the ban. “What other medicines are we allowed to grow at home?” he asked.

Representative Greg Jamison, R-Sioux Falls, said lawmakers should respect the 70 percent who voted for IM 26. “I encourage you to resist this bill and support the will of the voters again,” he said.