South Dakota’s governor intends to reach a consensus with the legislature regarding plans to enact a medical cannabis measure within the territory. However, activists feel a proposed legislation she’s floating is inadequate and unsustainable.
Despite Governor Noem Kristi’s opposition to medical and recreational cannabis legalization legislation, the state’s voters passed it in separate ballot measures in November. Last month, the recreational measure was removed by a judge because of issues about its constitutionality. Although there’s a pending Supreme Court appeal, the medicinal cannabis measure is slated to be enacted as law on 1st July.
Kristi tried getting lawmakers to pass a reform to delay the enactment up to 2021. That legislation has passed the House, but negotiators failed to sync with the Senate during a conference, bringing Noem to defeat.
Currently, she wants to compromise a reform that would no longer criminalize marijuana possession of not more than an ounce, reduce the number of crops that patients can grow to three, and ban 21 and younger individuals from being eligible for medicinal cannabis.
According to the bill, marijuana possession of less than an ounce by 21 and older individuals would be regarded petty fine with zero jail time. Other additional felonies would be categorized as a class two felony that attracts up to a $500 fine and one month in jail. Underage cannabis possession will be a serious class one felony.
The activists with South Dakotans For Better Marijuana Laws (the association behind the bill initiatives) say that that’s too much punishment and goes against the voter’s will who passed the legalization reform.
There’re disbursing a different reform that would increase the patient plant cap to six, extend a decriminalization provision to under 21 individuals and strike down a section that permits police to search for possessing any amount of cannabis.