PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Initiated measure 26 will take effect on July 1st, legalizing medical marijuana in South Dakota. But the state still has until the end of October to get the framework in place to begin issuing medical marijuana cards by November 18th.

In an interview with KELOLAND’s Bridget Bennett Thursday morning, Governor Noem said the state’s medical cannabis program will be ready by the deadlines listed in IM 26. It’s also a message she’s sending South Dakotans in an ongoing ad campaign.

“I can assure them that we are working hard to streamline the process,” Governor Noem says in a commercial airing this June across the state.

It’s a very different message from the commercials she appeared in before the November 3rd election, campaigning against the effort to legalize marijuana in the state.

“I’m urging all South Dakotans to vote no on legalizing marijuana this November,” Noem said in a commercial that aired ahead of the 2020 election.

“I think there’s people that have misconstrued my position on medical marijuana,” Noem said. “For years, I’ve said I’ve supported medical marijuana.”

It’s a statement that may be hard to hear for potential medical marijuana patients who watched the Governor campaign against it.   

“Yes, I specifically campaigned against the fact that I didn’t think that marijuana made anyone any smarter,” Noem said.

But Governor Noem says she supports qualifying patients having medical marijuana as an option.

“I think that that is something we take seriously and want to give them access to, but I want to do it in a way that will be responsible,” Noem said.

While she opposed IM 26, Governor Noem said she would support the legalization of medical marijuana on a federal level if it gets FDA approval.

“The regulatory process that the FDA has, make sure that you’re getting the potency as it’s labeled,” Noem said.

Despite her belief that this should be done by a different channel, the governor says she is committed to carrying out the will of nearly 70-percent of South Dakota voters.

“I think that that is something we take seriously and want to give them access to, but I want to do it in a way that will be responsible.

In our nearly half hour interview on legalizing marijuana in South Dakota, Governor Noem also addressed the timeline of the state’s implementation of IM 26 along with her thoughts on the future of recreational marijuana in South Dakota — we’ll have those stories coming up tonight on KELOLAND News at 6 & 10.