PIERRE, SD – South Dakota lawmakers will have to settle on a compromise of some sort with medical marijuana this week.
A bill is in play that would delay the implementation of the ballot driven issue until January first.
Senate Minority Leader Troy Heinert of Mission says details are lacking to help those with medical issues. “As of now, that bill would say that you have to have a medical card. We have no program to issue one, so technically you’re getting a doctor’s note,” he said, adding, “You can still be arrested – possibly a 12 hour process and a longer one if you’re poor. And you’re car could be impounded so you’ll have to pay to get your car out.”
Heinert says the current proposal is unacceptable. “You are a cancer patient and now you’ve sat 12 hours in jail. That’s the best we can do as a state? I don’t think that’s the best we can do. We can do better.”
Democratic Representative Linda Duba of Sioux Falls says the two sides seem far apart. “Keep in mind that this compromise we’re talking about that’s in the Senate, was put on the floor of the House and literally wasn’t even close.” She added, “So if that bill passes in the Senate and comes to the House, I don’t know where that conference committee is going to end up. We need to follow the will of the people.”
The initiative passed by voters last November called for the new law to be in place by July first.