Locally Grown Cannabis Plants Capped at 3 by SD Senate Committee, Major Reversal of Previous Policy – Mitchell Republic

STONE — Holders of a medical marijuana card will only be allowed to grow up to three cannabis plants in their homes, a South Dakota Senate committee voted on Wednesday, January 19.

Although the law put in place by the overwhelming passage of Measure 26 initiated in November 2020 initially allowed medical marijuana cardholders to grow at least three plants in their homes, the Senate Health and social services reversed the wording in a unanimous vote on Wednesday. install a maximum of three native plants.

In what Senator VJ Smith, R-Brookings, called a compromise between the authors of IM 26 and a summer study committee, the passage of Senate Bill 24 was a game changer. major compared to what was presented to the voters during the ballot.

“The author of the original IM 26 told us in [the summer study] committee that the reason why the strange language of [having] to grow at least three is that they felt growers had to be serious,” Smith said. “In the committee, for the most part, there was a strong feeling that they didn’t want any home culture at all.”

Ned Horsted, executive director of the Cannabis Industry Association of South Dakota, argued Smith’s compromise with statistics he provided from other states.

“Twenty-two states allow home cultivation of cannabis, and among those states there’s an average of about 10 plants per household,” Horsted said. “It’s a significant difference. Going from a minimum of three to a maximum of three seems to go against what voters had voted for.

After being asked by Senator Erin Tobin, R-Winner, about how he and the Summer Study Committee came to the decision to limit it to three, Smith said the limit came from the possibility for cardholders from illegally selling their local bud.

“It was the concept of should we allow people to grow marijuana and the fear that if they grew it, would they sell it and give it to people who shouldn’t have it,” replied Smith. “He was meeting for a compromise, and I don’t know of any other way to explain that.”

Senator Blake Curd, R-Sioux Falls, speaks on an amendment during the Senate Health and Human Services Committee meeting on Wednesday, January 19, 2022.

Hunter Dunteman/Republic Mitchell

Tobin, a family nurse practitioner, pivoted to wonder if three plants would produce enough medicinal properties to help people with a debilitating disease, and if patients would grow them all at once or stagger their growth for yields. constants.

“Budding can take anywhere from nine to 16 weeks before this plant can be harvested. You might have 16 to 20 weeks before you see material,” said Kittrick Jeffries, owner of Dakota Cannabis Consulting in Rapid City. “In my experience growing more than three plants I would yield 3-6 ounces.”

Tobin, who later suggested adjusting the limit to 12, said a cap of three would not provide a large enough yield for patients to reap the medicinal benefits.

Before senators could introduce an amendment to the bill, Smith moved the committee to pass the bill with a recommendation to pass to the Senate, which was seconded by Senator Arthur Rusch, R-Vermillion . Smith claimed that passing the bill would signal that the legislature is simply taking its time.

“We are still trying to get this situation under control. Like anything else – you crawl, you walk, then you start running,” Smith said. “We’re going to have marijuana bills for the next few years.”

But Tobin argued that the committee cannot try to predict what future legislatures will do.

“Our patients have been waiting for this program for so long. We have a legislature that may never decide to rise [on the number of allowable plants grown], which is about me,” Tobin said. “Either you go for home cultivation or you don’t.”

Smith’s do-pass motion failed on a 3-4 vote.

With the opportunity for discussion rekindled, Sen. Blake Curd, R-Sioux Falls, quickly moved an amendment to remove the word “maximum” from the bill.

The amendment motion, which changes the text of the bill to define an “authorized amount of cannabis” as “three cannabis plants,” passed unanimously.

Although now in an ambiguous state — not specifying a maximum or minimum — the bill will head to the Senate floor for consideration by the chamber in the coming days.

Comments are closed.