Senators make SD’s medical marijuana plan somewhat more complex and return it to House

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Pierre Capital Generic

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota senators proposed more changes Monday on medical marijuana.

The start would still be delayed until 2022. But HB 1100 now calls for letting adults at least age 21 have one ounce or less of marijuana in their possession, starting June 30, 2021, under an amendment from Blake Curd that also would apply to eight grams or less of marijuana concentrate.

Meanwhile, the study group that would report back to the Legislature before the 2022 session also would be smaller under an amendment from Erin Tobin.

Senators made those adjustments and then voted 29-6 to send their version back to the House. Representatives now must choose whether to accept it or start formal negotiations.

The main run of the 2021 session ends Thursday, with March 29 reserved for vetoes and any other late business.

The Legislature’s Republican leaders and Republican Governor Kristi Noem have argued they need more time than a July 1, 2021, start would allow them.

Curd said one thing was clear from the 2020 general election results that saw nearly 70% support for medical marijuana in Initiated Measure 26 and 54% backing for Constitutional Amendment A legalizing recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older: “The people of South Dakota made their voice heard at the ballot box in November.”

Tobin’s change would trim the study committee to 18 members by removing the appointee from the state attorney general’s office and two appointees from the governor’s administration.

Governor Noem has challenged Amendment A in court. A state judge declared it invalid. Lawyers for Amendment A face a Wednesday deadline to present their appeal to the South Dakota Supreme Court.

The Senate legislation also now allows a medical-necessity defense that the House had previously turned down. Representatives voted 40-28 to send their version to the Senate on February 25.

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