(South Dakota Broadcasters Association) In a Monday afternoon session, the Senate approves SB71, granting law enforcement and state agencies enhanced rights to inspect, search, and enforce disciplinary actions on medical cannabis facilities.
The legislation terminates the exclusive oversight authority of the South Dakota Department of Health over medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation, testing, and manufacturing sites.
Opponents within the medical cannabis industry, during prior committee discussions, argued that existing provisions already allow law enforcement to search facilities based on probable cause.
The bill’s proponents, however, justified the change by asserting that the industry has matured and no longer requires the protective measures initially imposed by limiting regulatory authority to the Department of Health.
Voters approved medical marijuana in a 2020 ballot measure.
Republican Sen. David Wheeler from Huron, who had opposed the bill for three years, expressed a shift in stance, citing the industry’s maturity and the absence of reported issues with dispensaries or law enforcement.
The Senate passed SB71 with a vote of 26 to 7. The bill now moves to a House committee for further consideration.