Republican Gov. Kristi Noem has signed legislation (SB 24) into law preserving the ability of qualified patients to home cultivate limited quantities of cannabis.
Voters in November 2020 overwhelmingly decided in favor of a ballot Measure (Measure 26) permitting qualified patients to possess, grow, and purchase medical cannabis — a measure which Gov. Noem opposed. Since that time, on two occasions, House lawmakers voted in favor of legislation to eliminate patients’ home cultivation rights.
“Permitting limited home cultivation provides patients with the ability to have reliable, affordable, and consistent access to their medicine,” NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “Seventy percent of voters approved this right at the ballot box and it is reassuring to see that a majority of lawmakers, and the Governor, ultimately decided to respect the voters’ decision.”
Senate Bill 24, as amended in conference committee, permits registered patients to cultivate a total of four marijuana plants (two mature, two immature) and to legally possess the harvest from those plants.
NORML has long supported home grow rights for patients, opining that “the inclusion of legislative provisions protecting the non-commercial home cultivation of cannabis serves as leverage to assure that the product available at retail outlets is high quality, safe, and affordable.” Allowing patients the ability to grow cannabis at home further ensures that they “will have an uninterrupted and cost-effective supply of the medicine that is best suited to their own particular therapeutic needs.”
Other cannabis-related bills signed by Governor Noem this session include Senate Bill 6, which protects medical cardholders from discrimination by either school administrators or by landlords, SB 7, which mandates that “no person may be denied custody of, visitation rights with, or parenting time with a minor solely because the person is a cardholder,” and SB 15, which protects cardholders from the loss of any professional licensure due solely to their medical cannabis patient status.
Separate legislation, SB 151, facilitating the automatic expungement of certain marijuana-related criminal records awaits action from the Governor.