South Dakota lawmakers on Wednesday recommended changes to the state’s voter-approved medical cannabis law including prohibiting home cultivation and allowing local governments to bar dispensaries, the Associated Press reports. The changes were recommended by a legislative subcommittee as the state government faces a deadline to issue patient identification cards and industry licenses.
The recommendations move next to the Marijuana Interim Study Committee which must approve them before they can move to the full Legislature for consideration.
Republican state Rep. Fred Deutsch argued that allowing medical cannabis patients to cultivate their own plants would lead to an influx of illegal cannabis and that when voters approved the law last year, they were voting on a general medical cannabis program.
“I want medical marijuana to be accessible to anyone who qualifies for it. But I do want to put up guardrails and gutters to provide safety for South Dakotans that don’t need it and don’t need to be exposed to it, especially our children.”—Deutsch to the AP
Democratic state Rep. Linda Duba disagreed, contending that the subcommittee recommendations would gut key provisions of the program and that the ballot initiative was “carefully crafted” and reflected the will of voters.
“I’m tired of people saying they are following the will of the people, then they turn right around and say we know better what you meant,” she told the AP, “so we’re going to restrict here, here and here.”
Last year, South Dakotans voted to legalize cannabis for both medical and adult use but a circuit court judge ruled that the adult-use law violated the state’s single-issue rule for ballot initiatives. The state Supreme Court is expected to make the final ruling on that lower court decision.
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