South Dakota Lawmakers Consider Changes to State’s Medical Cannabis Law
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South Dakota Lawmakers Consider Changes to State’s Medical Cannabis Law

Members of the Legislature’s Medical Marijuana Study Subcommittee plan to issue recommendations by Sept. 1.

August 5, 2021

South Dakota made history last year when voters approved medical and adult-use cannabis legalization on the same ballot, but now, lawmakers are considering changes to the state’s medical cannabis law.

The Legislature’s Medical Marijuana Study Subcommittee met Aug. 4 to review the proposed rules for South Dakota’s medical cannabis program, and KELO reported that members of the panel are working privately on potential changes to Initiated Measure 26, the measure voters passed in November to legalize medical cannabis.

Sen. Bryan Breitling, chairman of the subcommittee, said legislation to tweak the state’s medical cannabis law could be considered Nov. 9, when lawmakers meet for a special session that is held every 10 years to draw boundaries for the Legislature’s 35 districts, according to KELO.

Lawmakers could also submit proposals of their own, Breitling told the news outlet, and some, including Reps. Fred Deutsch and Carl Perry, have indicated that they have changes in mind that they plan to pursue either during the special session on Nov. 9 or when lawmakers reconvene in January for the 2022 legislative session.

The Medical Marijuana Study Subcommittee’s workgroups have been charged with issuing recommendations on medical cannabis issues, establishments and law enforcement, KELO reported, and the panel must issue its final recommendations at its next meeting on Sept. 1.

A public hearing on the proposed rules for the medical cannabis program is scheduled for Aug. 18, according to the news outlet, and public comment on the regulations will be accepted through Aug. 28. The Legislature’s Rules Review Committee must decide by Sept. 13 whether to adopt the final regulations.

Gov. Kristi Noem announced in February that she and leadership in both chambers of the Legislature planned to delay implementing a medical cannabis program until July 1, 2022, although South Dakota law requires constitutional amendments and initiative measures to become effective on July 1 each year following an election.

This effort stalled when the House and Senate failed to agree, according to KELO.

South Dakota’s adult-use cannabis law has also faced its own set of challenges; the Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of Amendment A, the voter-approved initiative to legalize adult-use, in April, after a circuit judge struck down the amendment in February in response to a lawsuit filed by members of law enforcement.