After signing legislation to protect limited home cultivation for patients and legislation to protect patients rights, Governor Noem has chosen to veto legislation that allows the automatic removal of convictions from a person’s background check for marijuana-related offenses.
In an official statement, Gov Noem lays out her reasoning for vetoing this legislation saying, “It also essentially codifies a convicted person’s ability to be dishonest about their previous arrest and conviction by not requiring disclosure of the prior drug conviction… This bill is also retroactive, which is bad precedent for criminal justice issues where fairness is paramount. Further, even with the legalization of medical cannabis, there must remain consequences for using illegal drugs at a time when the use and possession of marijuana, even for alleged medical purposes, was illegal.”
It is now up to the chambers to decide if they will uphold or overturn the Governor’s veto but with the last day of the regular session being tomorrow, time is short.
“The voters of South Dakota have shown their support for comprehensive reform by voting to create regulated medical and adult-use markets, regardless of adult-use being struck down by a judge. Despite the will of the voters, South Dakotans will continue to be saddled with the collateral consequences of a marijuana possession conviction. People with otherwise clean records do not deserve for the rest of their lives to be derailed because of a marijuana conviction, especially since some of these convictions are likely due to medical usage before there was an established program, which is still in the process of being fully implemented, “ said Jax James, NORML’s State Policy Manager.