Reflecting voters who sent them, Gosch and Jamison differ on medical marijuana’s start

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Spencer Gosch wants to delay legal medical-marijuana use in South Dakota until next year. That would let a special panel figure out answers IM 26 didn’t address.

Greg Jamison meanwhile agrees medical marijuana needs a little more time beyond the July 1, 2021, date that voters approved in IM 26 — but not as much as Gosch.

Jamison also would reconfigure the study panel, add two tribal members and put more local law enforcement on it.

Because of a procedural deadline, House members must decide Thursday whether to keep the current version of HB 1100 that delays the start to July 1, 2022.

They could adopt Gosch’s pending amendment that he offered Tuesday. Or instead opt for Jamison’s competing version. Or modify it some other way.

Whatever decision is reached might not be the final word. Unless the 70 representatives decide they want to let IM 26 start July 1 as the voters wanted, some version of HB 1100 will move to the Senate, where 35 more voices get their say.

The differences between Gosch and Jamison on their approaches happen to reflect views of many voters from their very different home areas.

Gosch’s caution matches many in the sparsely populated northcentral region he represents. Majorities in every one of the eight very rural counties supported IM 26, but none came close to the nearly 70% statewide.

In his home county of Walworth, for example, 56% of voters backed it. Most of the others were just as lukewarm: Campbell 55%; Edmunds 61%; Faulk 55%; Hand 54%; McPherson 52%; Potter 56% ; and Spink 63%. 

Jamison is a past Sioux Falls Council member and a one-time candidate for mayor of South Dakota’s largest city whose voters were much more supportive of medical marijuana.

Minnehaha County overall favored legalization 75% to 24%, with all 71 precincts voting for it and 37 of them at 76% or more. Only six precincts were below the statewide 70%, while 45 were at 70 to 79% and 20 at 80% or more.

The south precincts of Sioux Falls are in Lincoln County. Lincoln’s voters too supported medical marijuana, 72% to 27%. Nine of the 13 Sioux Falls precincts said yes at more than 72%.

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