South Dakota Marijuana Ballot Initiatives

Members of the state’s medical-marijuana subcommittee voted this week to rescind key provisions in South Dakota’s voter-approved medical cannabis initiative (Measure 26).

On Wednesday, subcommittee members decided 6 to 4 to eliminate the ability for qualified patients to home-cultivate marijuana. Nearly 70 percent of voters decided in favor of the ballot Measure (Measure 26) last November, which allows patients to either obtain cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries or to grow it themselves.

Members of the full Marijuana Interim Study Committee must now vote on whether to advance the recommendation to the legislature.

Lawmakers in South Dakota have repeatedly expressed resistance to amending the state’s marijuana laws. Republican Gov. Kristi Noem campaigned against the medical cannabis initiative in the months immediately prior to the election. In February, House lawmakers voted to delay the law’s implementation; however, that effort failed when House and Senate lawmakers failed to come to an agreement on conflicting provisions in the bill. 

State regulators are on a timeline to begin issuing identification cards to qualified patients by May 15, 2022.

Voters are still awaiting the fate of a separate voter-initiated ballot measure, Amendment A, which sought to legalize the personal possession and retail sale of marijuana by adults. Fifty-four percent of South Dakota voters decided on Election Day in favor of the measure. However, Gov. Noem facilitated litigation seeking to strike down the law as unconstitutional.

In February, Judge Christina Klinger of the state’s Sixth Judicial Circuit Court ruled in favor of the challenge — opining that the measure violates state requirements that ballot measures not encompass more than one topic. Justices on the state Supreme Court heard an appeal of the case  in April, but have yet to render a decision either upholding or striking down the lower court’s ruling.

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