SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Friday pitched lawmakers a proposal that would limit parts of a voter-passed law legalizing medical marijuana in the state, but she conceded that the drug will become legal for patients on July 1.
The Republican governor previously pushed the Legislature to delay implementation of the state’s medical marijuana program by a year so that a committee could study the issue. But Senate Republicans scuttled that effort.
Ahead of lawmakers meeting Monday for the final day of this year’s scheduled legislative session, Noem renewed her push to scale back parts of the law. Only this time, she limited her request to the number of cannabis plants allowed in medical marijuana users’ homes, minors’ ability to smoke pot for medical purposes, and the authority granted to the Department of Health to track marijuana before it is sold.
“In my opinion, these are necessary changes to allow for a successful implementation of IM 26 beginning on July 1,” she said in a letter to lawmakers, referring to the bill by its shorthand name.
Advocates for medical marijuana have argued that the law voters passed is sufficient. They have been especially resistant to the proposal for a cap of three cannabis plants per medical user’s home, saying it wouldn’t be sufficient to meet a patient’s medical needs.