South Dakota legislators seek to make changes to medical cannabis law

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A Republican-dominated panel of South Dakota lawmakers recommended several changes to the medical cannabis legalization measure that voters passed in 2020, including giving local governments the ability to ban MMJ companies entirely and eliminating home-cultivation rights.

According to the Rapid City Journal, a legislative subcommittee on Wednesday issued the recommendations, which must be approved by another committee before being voted on by the full Legislature.

That means the lawmakers’ recommendations are currently only symbolic, but they could be a preview of political battles to come over how the state implements its MMJ program, with Republicans likely looking to roll the measure back and Democrats presumably crying foul.

The recommendations appear to be the latest in a string of Republican-led attempts to restrain the legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana in South Dakota, where voters historically approved both industries in the 2020 election.

Gov. Kristi Noem has led the charge against legal marijuana by spearheading a lawsuit against recreational cannabis in particular. The suit is still being weighed by the state’s Supreme Court.

Noem also has suggested limiting MMJ home grows to three plants per location.

Regardless, South Dakota will eventually have a medical marijuana market; it’s only a question of how much state lawmakers will be able to reshape the voter-approved initiative before an MMJ market launches.