The 95 sections of Initiated Measure 26, South Dakota’s voter-approved medical marijuana law, have been codified as SDCL Chapter 34-20G. So yes, cops and lawyers and legislators referring to specific statutes governing medical marijuana will have to say 4-20.
I celebrate the fact that we can finally stop squinting at the awful scanned PDF edition of the IM 26 petition, the only online version of the full text that I’ve ever seen, and enjoy a nice searchable plain-text edition of the law, complete with separate links to each of its specific provisions.
One of those provisions, Section 16, places this interesting prohibition on law enforcement activity:
No law enforcement officer employed by an agency that receives state or local government funds may expend any state or local resources, including the officer’s time, to effect any arrest or seizure of cannabis, or conduct any investigation, on the sole basis of activity the officer believes to constitute a violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. § 801 et seq., if the officer has reason to believe that the activity is in compliance with this chapter. No officer may expend any state or local resources, including the officer’s time, to provide any information or logistical support related to any activity to any federal law enforcement authority or prosecuting entity [SDCL 34-20G-16, effective 2021.07.01].
The first sentence says that if South Dakota cops think certain cannabinoid activity is related to folks growing or selling or using soon-to-be perfectly legal medical marijuana, they are not to go snooping or cuffing or seizing on the basis of their invocation of federal law. I’d think all those right-wing bodyguards Governor Noem is recruiting would enjoy that assertion of state supremacy over federal law, but I get the feeling that South Dakota cops will be more more inclined to invoke federal law to harass medical mari-wanters by claiming, “What? I had no reason to believe the activity in question was in compliance with Chapter 34-20G. I smelled pot, suspected criminal activity, and went in to look.”
The second sentence, however, if read in isolation, could be a blockbuster. “No officer may expend any state or local resources, including the officer’s time, to provide any information or logistical support related to any activity to any federal law enforcement authority or prosecuting entity.” That line doesn’t refer back to the federal Controlled Substances Act cited in sentence #1. That line doesn’t place any qualifier on the “activity” where local and state cops’ assistance is restricted. That line as written says South Dakota cops can’t help federal cops or U.S. Attorneys. No information, no logistical support, nothing about “any activity.”
Hmm… Governor Noem, are you reading? IM 26 appears to severely hamstring any cooperation between our cops and the feds. Maybe you intend to simply overlook that portion of the law—as the cops’ own Standards and Training Commission appears inclined in declaring it can ignore IM 26 and prohibit cops from using medical marijuana—but wouldn’t it be more fun to use this odd provision as a pretext to call a Special Session and work line by line through IM 26 to prevent it from wreaking any real chaos on law enforcement in South Dakota?