Implementing Marijuana Safely & Responsibly

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Implementing Marijuana Safely & Responsibly

Governor Noem has always supported medical cannabis, believing that it should be available for South Dakotans once it received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While she is personally opposed to legalizing recreational marijuana, the Noem Administration has implemented one of the most well-run medical cannabis programs in the country.

Following the passage of IM 26 by the voters, which legalized medical cannabis, Governor Noem moved quickly to stand up a program according to the timeline outlined by the voters. The timeline was short -- only Oklahoma had implemented a medical cannabis program on a shorter timeline, and their program has been a disaster. Nonetheless, Governor Noem and her Department of Health got the program ready on time and ensured that appropriate safeguards for public health and safety were in place.

This past legislative session, Governor Noem signed dozens of bills sent to her by the legislature to place common-sense guidelines on the state’s medical cannabis program. These bills were primarily the result of a summer study conducted by the legislature, and the Governor was glad to work with the people’s elected representatives on these reforms.

The recreational marijuana measure currently on the ballot appears to be written in a constitutional fashion. If the voters pass it, Governor Noem will once again work with the legislature to enact it according to the will of the voters with appropriate safeguards for public health and safety.

Unfortunately, Amendment A, which pertained to recreational marijuana and a variety of other subjects, was drafted unconstitutionally in 2020. It violated the most recent constitutional amendment, Amendment Z, which was supported by 62% of South Dakota voters. Amendment Z said that constitutional amendments must contain only one subject, but Amendment A contained at least five.

Governor Noem’s very first action as Governor was to swear an oath to both the South Dakota and United States Constitutions, and she was honor bound by that oath. Governor Noem supported a lawsuit to confirm that Amendment A was passed unconstitutionally. The South Dakota Supreme Court confirmed in a 4 to 1 vote that it was passed unconstitutionally, agreeing with Governor Noem’s reading of the South Dakota Constitution.

Governor Noem will always stand up for the South Dakota Constitution, even if doing so isn’t popular. Her role as Governor requires her to observe the Constitution and enforce the rule of law – she always has and always will.

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