Efforts to stall South Dakota medical marijuana program fizzle

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A voter-approved medical marijuana program likely will be implemented in South Dakota as scheduled after efforts to stymie the program failed.

Gov. Kristi Noem and the majority of lawmakers from both chambers wanted to delay legalization and develop regulations, but they couldn’t agree on a compromise measure to do so before the end of the legislative session, according to the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls.

That means the voter-approved measure is likely to go forward as is, with a market launch expected in the summer of 2022.

Noem, who is fiercely anti-marijuana, argued that the state needed more time to implement a medical cannabis program.

Legalization advocates claimed that Noem and her legislative allies wanted to replace the voter-approved measure with a more-restrictive program.

Noem also ignited a legal fight against voter-approved recreational marijuana.

She won Round 1 when a circuit judge recently ruled that the referendum was unconstitutional.

But backers of Amendment A, the adult-use measure, appealed to the state Supreme Court, filing their first arguments this week, the Argus Leader reported.

Marijuana advocates say Noem’s efforts in South Dakota to block or modify marijuana legalization reflect a new maneuver to overturn the will of the voters.