PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Legislators are trying to remove a key piece of South Dakota’s new medical marijuana laws that 70% of voters approved two years ago.

The state Senate voted 19-16 Wednesday to repeal protections for cannabis dispensaries, cultivation facilities, cannabis product manufacturers and testing facilities that were passed as part of IM 26.

Those laws currently say the businesses and their agents can’t be subject to prosecution, search, inspection, seizure, penalty or discipline by a court or licensing group for acting in accordance with South Dakota’s medical-marijuana laws.

SB 16 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration. It was one of the bills recommended by the Legislature’s marijuana study committee last year.

Senator Helene Duhamel, R-Rapid City, said law enforcement should be able on its own to investigate. The former TV anchor most recently has been employed by the Pennington County sheriff’s office. “IM 26 was sold to the public as medicine. Let’s treat it as medicine,” Duhamel said.

Senate Democrat leader Troy Heinert of Mission called the repeals “dangerous.” Senator Bryan Breitling, R-Miller, who co-chaired the study panel, disagreed. “IM 26 was drafted by the industry,” Breitling said. “It is not our responsibility to make sure an industry is safe… We don’t provide these protections to any other industry.”

The people who wrote IM 26 knew they were making “a big ask” of South Dakota voters, said Senator David Wheeler, R-Huron. He asked senators to defeat the bill. “These are very important protections,” Wheeler said.

Craft-beer makers didn’t get special protections when the Legislature let them go forward, and the cannabis businesses shouldn’t either, Senator Jim Stalzer, R-Sioux Falls, said: “We don’t, I believe, need special protections for this (cannabis) industry.”

Senator Reynold Nesiba, D-Sioux Falls, reminded senators that voters passed IM 26, including the protections, by a landslide margin. He invoked the state’s motto: “And under God, the people rule.”

The Senate approved four other medical-marijuana bills Wednesday: SB 11, SB 12, SB 19 and SB 7. They’ll face their next tests in the House, too.