After a court overturned a similar measure, South Dakota’s governor said she would not stand in the way of an effort to legalize medical marijuana in the state, but backed a delay in implementation.

Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, asked lawmakers to back the delayed implementation of Initiated Measure 26, a ballot initiative from November that saw more than 70% of the votes cast in favor of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.

“We are working diligently to get IM 26 implemented safely and correctly,” Noem said in a statement early Wednesday. “The feasibility of getting this program up and running well will take additional time.”

South Dakota’s Argus Leader reported that leaders in the state House of Representatives introduced an eight-page bill on Wednesday that strikes “2021” from IM 26 and replaces it with “2022.” State leaders will now work with a task for that would reform the measure by early next year. Cannabis policy consultants told state leaders getting the measure in place within the eight-month timeframe outlined in IM 26 was unreasonable.

Though it passed in overwhelming fashion in November, the paper reports the pro-cannabis measure was lacking in specifics. Schools are called on to respect patients using medical marijuana, for example, but the measure does not address whether or not students would be allowed to use marijuana on campus.

Troy Heinert, a Democrat and minority leader in the state Senate, suggested in comments to the Argus Leader that Republican leadership was working against the will of the people.

"The voters passed IM 26 by an overwhelming margin and it is the legislature's job to ensure its implementation," he said. "Anything less is unacceptable and we must respect the will of the voters."

The delay followed a ruling Monday from a South Dakota judge that overturned a voter-backed amendment to the state Constitution that would legalize recreational marijuana, the Associated Press reported. The judge ruled that initiative was invalid because it dealt with more than one subject, in violation of state requirements.

Only a few states in the nation criminalize marijuana completely. Last week, Alabama moved one step closer to removing its name from that last when state senators backed legislation that would legalize medical marijuana.

medical-marijuana-1521070298hWe Homeless addicts staying at city-sponsored hotels during this coronavirus pandemic are also given free booze and marijuana by the San Francisco Public Health Department. Photo: Creative Commons