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Gov. Noem proposes changes to medical marijuana initiative measure ahead of Veto Day

Published: Mar. 27, 2021 at 1:44 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Monday will officially wrap up the 2021 legislative session in Pierre.

That is “Veto Day” when all remaining bills will either be signed or killed.

The legalization of marijuana has been a hot topic throughout this session.

Governor Kristi Noem is requesting last-minute changes to medicinal marijuana legislation.

She tells legislators she believes her proposed changes are necessary to allow a successful implementation of Initiated Measure 26.

Noem is proposing three major changes.

The first would only allow medical marijuana users to have up to three plants in their homes.

The Governor also wants to prohibit those under the age of 21 from smoking or vaping marijuana for any purpose.

She also wants to clarify the Department of Health’s “Seed to Sale” rulemaking authority.

These changes come after her attempts to delay the implementation of IM 26 failed.

“She had hoped for the legislature to make more changes and make more provisions,” said Julia Hellwege, Assistant Professor of Political science at the University of South Dakota. “For example, through the HB 1100 that did pass the house but did not pass the Senate. She had hoped to delay this and create a task force in implementing it.”

Some lawmakers believe the back and forth on the medical marijuana issue needs to stop, and implementation needs to happen.

“There are too many people who are suffering debilitating pain, too many suffering ongoing seizures. Children, adults, people dying cancer who just need this relief, for us to drag our feet is not the right thing,” said Democratic Representative Linda Duba of Sioux Falls.

While the final day of the legislative session is Monday, some lawmakers believe a special session will be needed to further work out IM 26.

“At this moment, there isn’t much of an appetite to discuss the proposed revisions to IM 26 during veto day,” said Republican House Speaker Spencer Gosch of Glenham. “I personally feel that any proposed amendments would need to be done in a transparent, fair, and public proceeding.”

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