South Dakota Medical Cannabis Legalization to Proceed As Planned

South Dakota’s medical cannabis legalization initiative will take effect as planned after state Senators stymied an attempt by House lawmakers to delay implementation for six months.

Full story after the jump.

Cannabis legalization and normalization opponents in South Dakota have failed to block the implementation of the state’s voter-approved medical cannabis initiative, the Argus Leader reports.

Since IM 26‘s overwhelming approval by voters in November, Gov. Kristi Noem (R) and members of South Dakota’s House have worked to delay the initiative through a variety of tactics, including the House’s passage of HB 1101 — a bill that sought to delay the medical cannabis roll-out for six months until January 1, 2022. The voter-backed initiative calls for medical cannabis to become legal starting July 1, 2021.

In a last-minute move, South Dakota Senators amended HB 1101 to accept the proposed delay but they added language to decriminalize cannabis for all adults and end the practice of charging people with a crime if cannabis is detected in their blood or urine. The House rejected the changes, which triggered a conference committee between the two chambers; the bill died when the committee failed to reach a compromise, allowing medical cannabis to go into effect as written on July 1.

“The Senate has come together overwhelmingly to offer a plan that allows more time, with concessions of good faith. If those terms aren’t agreeable, we should honor IM 26 as written on July 1, 2021.” — Sen. Mike Rohl (R-Aberdeen), via the Argus Leader

According to a KELOLAND News report, the committee’s compromise ultimately failed in a 3-3 tie.

Speaker of the House Spencer Gosch (R) — who had brought a compromise amendment to the conference that, with provisions like removing home grows and prohibiting any patients under the age of 21, did little to bring the two sides together — said he believes the process is “stuck in a gridlock” and that he did not see “a path forward.”

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