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Wednesday, Sep 28, 2022
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.

Legalization

South Dakota lawmakers look to repeal home cultivation of medical pot

Despite South Dakotans voting for cannabis reform in 2020, their governor and lawmakers have challenged the resulting laws

South Dakota's legislature building with rows of flowers leading up to the entrance
Advocates say the bill to repeal cultivation is the latest effort by lawmakers to undo voters' actions. Photo via South Dakota Unified Judicial System

South Dakota lawmakers have advanced legislation to repeal parts of the state’s medical cannabis program that gave patients the right to grow at home.

The bill is headed to the Senate for consideration after the South Dakota House of Representatives passed it in at 41 to 29 vote on Monday.

And on Wednesday, a House committee will look at another bill that would ban medical cannabis edibles.

Despite South Dakotans voting for cannabis reform in 2020 through ballot initiatives, their governor and lawmakers have challenged the resulting laws.

Advocates say the bill to repeal cultivation is the latest effort by lawmakers to undo voters’ actions.

“South Dakotans sent an unequivocal message in support of allowing patients the ability to legally access it under the advice of their physician,” NORML executive director Erik Altieri said in a statement.

“When operational, this program will provide lab-tested medical cannabis products to thousands of South Dakotans who can benefit from them. These patients cannot wait, and voters were right to take action to make this access a reality.”

South Dakota’s medical pot program was the result of a successful ballot initiative on Election Day, when the majority of citizens also voted for a measure that would have allowed adult-use sales of cannabis.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem. Photo by Matt Johnson via Wikimedia Commons

The adult-use cannabis initiative was challenged shortly after in a lawsuit spearheaded by Gov. Kristi Noem. The state’s Supreme Court ruled in favour of the governor’s challenge in November, citing that the ballot measure violated state rules.

Earlier this month, Noem suggested the cannabis activists behind the adult-use ballot initiative should cover the legal costs of the lawsuit to overturn the measure.

“South Dakota cannabis reform advocates have no obligation to pay for Governor Noem’s political crusade to overturn the will of the people. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous,” says Matthew Schweich, campaign director for South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws (SDBML).

“Amendment A was a sensible and well-drafted initiative approved by a majority of South Dakota voters at the ballot box, and it was only repealed due to a deeply flawed court ruling that relied on a far-fetched legal theory lacking evidentiary support.

“Driven by her desire to deprive South Dakotans of personal freedom on cannabis, Gov. Noem went out of her way to create an unnecessary legal battle over Amendment A and used taxpayer money to do it. As a result of her actions, South Dakotans paid to have their own votes reversed.”

Read more: South Dakota Supreme Court squashes ballot for adult-use pot

SDBML has been collecting signatures for another attempt at legalizing adult-use cannabis to submit by May. The group says that the 2022 initiative is short and simple, and will be able to withstand legal challenges.

At the moment, small amounts of pot are decriminalized in South Dakota, and the medical program took effect last year. Recreational use of cannabis remains illegal.

 

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