Supporters of medical marijuana have presented a compromised bill they hope lawmakers will pass instead of House Bill 1100.
The bill would push back the implementation of medical marijuana, but not as much as Governor Kristi Noem is asking for.
Supporters and nearly 70 percent of South Dakota voters approved IM 26, which was supposed to be implemented by July 1st of this year, that’s why they’re proposing a compromised timeline to help put an end to House Bill 1100.
“House Bill 1100a really envisions freezing everything and then forming an interim committee to really re-write the law,” Matthew Schweich, the Deputy Director of the Marijuana Policy Project said.
Supporters who helped write IM 26 are fighting to ensure the measure is implemented as intended.
“Very sick patients and their families put this on the ballot just like we were asked, for them to come in the last three and half weeks of session to try to overturn the will of the voters and delay it is heartbreaking and incredibly frustrating,” Melissa Mentele with New Approach South Dakota said.
Lawmakers across the state are hearing similar frustrations.
“Our supporters across South Dakota have been sending thousands and thousands of emails, making hundreds of calls, urging their legislators to oppose HB 1100a,” Mentele said.
“There are people in our cities and our state that are waiting for the use of medical marijuana that have very good reasons and medical histories that need to have that treatment option,” Rep. Taylor Rehfeldt (R) of Sioux Falls said.
Members of both houses are divided on the issue; in Sioux Falls over the weekend, four of seven lawmakers at a legislative coffee said they would not support HB1100 as written.
“We believe that many legislators genuinely want to represent their constituents, they’re looking for a commonsense approach and that’s what our proposed legislation is,” Mentele said.
The proposal moves back the deadline for implementing much of IM 26 to next January during the 2022 legislative session.
“We do want to recognize that a delay in implementation is partly justified due to the Department of Health’s important role in managing South Dakota’s pandemic response, that is one of the reasons we are presenting this compromise,” Schweich said.
“You know, when the pandemic came around, I think the public was completely confident in the health department’s ability to deal with that. Same with this issue. When the voters decided, yes, we agree with IM 26, we trust the health department. we believe in them,” Rep. Greg Jamison (R) of Sioux Falls said.
This new timeline is still much sooner than what’s proposed in HB1100, but it does require one significant change to still be enacted this summer.
“Legal protections for medical marijuana patients starting July 1 is non-negotiable for us. We refuse to accept any situation in which someone who is sick and suffering, trying to live a happier, healthier more productive life is criminalized,” Schweich said.
So far this proposed compromise to HB 1100 has not had any formal support from a lawmaker. The bill was deferred to Tuesday in the House.
Supporters say the proposed legislation makes the following changes to SDCL 34-20G (the statute established by Measure 26):
– Extends the deadline for the Department of Health to write rules and regulations for the medical marijuana program from October 29, 2021 to January 31, 2022 (HB 1100A proposed October 31, 2022).
– Extends the deadline for issuing registry identification cards to qualifying medical marijuana patients from November 18, 2021 to January 31, 2022 (HB 1100A proposed November 21, 2022).
– Ensures that specific legal protections are provided to medical marijuana patients before registry identification cards are issued. These protections will take effect on July 1, 2021, which is what Measure 26 currently requires (HB 1100A proposed delaying these protections to July 1, 2022).
– Extends the deadline for establishing a secure phone- or web-based verification system for registry identification cards from October 29, 2021 to January 31, 2022 (HB 1100A proposed July 1, 2022).
– Extends the deadline for the Department of Health and Department of Education to establish a medical marijuana policy for schools from fall 2021 to January 31, 2022 (HB 1100A proposed removing the deadline entirely).
– Expands the medical cannabis oversight committee in size and scope and directs it to report back to the Legislature with any recommended legislation by December 15, 2021.
– Increases reporting requirements for the Department of Health and the oversight committee in order to monitor the pace of the implementation process.
– Clarifies limits on home cultivation by medical marijuana patients.