South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is delaying the implementation of the voter-approved medical cannabis law by one year – until July 1, 2022 – because of the “feasibility” of getting the program up and running.
“We are working diligently to get IM 26 implemented safely and correctly. The feasibility of getting this program up and running well will take additional time. I am thankful to our legislative leaders for helping make sure that we do this right.” – Noem in a statement
The Governor’s Office said an interim committee would be created “to meet and recommend solutions before next legislative session.” The state is working with Cannabis Public Policy Consulting (CPPC) on implementing the reforms, which “has not seen a successful implementation of a medicinal marijuana program in just 8 months” – the timeframe outlined by the measure. The Governor’s Office added that CPPC has advised that no state has launched both medical and adult-use cannabis industries at the same time, although it notes the Monday Circuit Court decision to reject the adult-use initiative on the grounds it violated the state’s one-issue clause for ballot questions.
“While the circuit court has ruled that Amendment A is unconstitutional,” the statement from the Governor’s Office says, “the state is still anticipating that the Supreme Court will have the opportunity to weigh in on this constitutional matter.”
In a letter to officials, CPPC estimated it would take between 14 and 20 months to implement an “effective, sustainable, and functioning medical marijuana system, without any existing licensing system, while balancing the need for patient access to safe marijuana with the need for public safety, preventing underage use and divergence into the illicit market.”
“Robust stakeholder engagement requires thoughtful, structured consideration that extends implementation timelines,” the letter states. “In our experience, the most successful implementations of a regulated marijuana system have prioritized public education, stakeholder outreach, and consumer safety, all of which are difficult to accomplish in an accelerated timeline.”
Meanwhile, lawmakers are still crafting rules and regulations for the adult-use industry in the event the Supreme Court upholds the ballot initiative. Republican state Sen. Brock Greenfield has also indicated he has filed a cannabis-related vehicle bill that could be used to pass the language of the measure via the legislative process.
The recreational measure was approved by voters last November 53% to 47% while the medical reforms passed 70% to 30%.
TG joined Ganjapreneur in 2014 as a news writer and began hosting the Ganjapreneur podcast in 2016. He is based in upstate New York, where he also teaches media studies at a local university.