Noem’s medical marijuana plan scuttled by Senate

Sen. Blake Curd, a Republican proponent of the Senate proposal, called it a “reasonable attempt to bridge the gap” between the governor’s desire to take extra months to develop a program and honoring the will of voters.

In an attempt to scuttle the Senate proposal and move the bill forward, the governor and House lawmakers made major concessions from her original plan. She had argued that it would take months to properly implement a medical marijuana program, but a six-month delay was scrapped. House lawmakers proposed a compromise to legalize medical marijuana on July 1, but kept caveats that people under 21 could not use it, medical users could only possess one ounce (28 grams) at a time, and people could not cultivate cannabis plants in their homes.

“I was hoping for some time to do it right,” said House Speaker Spencer Gosch, a Republican who had been the main proponent of the governor’s plan to delay the medical marijuana program and set up a committee to study the issue.

But many lawmakers, even those who have said they were personally opposed to marijuana legalization, have recognized they risked running afoul of voters in denying some form of marijuana legalization.

“The people, the public wanted adult-use marijuana, and they wanted medical-use marijuana,” said Republican Rep. Greg Jamison during a House debate on accepting the Senate’s proposal.

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