South Dakota dismisses some limiting medical cannabis proposals

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

On Monday, September 13, South Dakota lawmakers rejected a handful of proposals covering the medical cannabis industry. The rejected proposals were initially put forward by Governor Kristi Noem’s administration. 

South Dakota’s Department of Health has been instructed by the Legislature’s Rules Review Committee to instigate another attempt for the controversial rule proposals to be accepted. The committee is responsible for approving administration rules.

Despite the fact that numerous proposals were ousted, the majority of the program’s measures were approved. The Legislature reportedly signed off on much of the Department of Health’s 124-page proposal, which featured a broad spectrum of rules pertaining to cannabis cultivation facilities, cardholder fees and more. 

South Dakota’s medical cannabis rule changes: What rules were rejected? 

Included in the list of rules that were overthrown by South Dakota lawmakers included a proposal that would have restricted the amount of high-potency cannabis registered patients could possess, as well as a proposal that defined a list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis recommendations.

A set of rules that would have required medical care practitioners to provide patients who want to cultivate more than three cannabis plants with written recommendations was also dismissed.

The updated rules set the application fee for medical cannabis cards at $75 and provide a discounted fee of $20 for applicants who are on a low income. All medical cannabis facilities must also abide by a state licensing fee of $5,000, regardless of the size.

Noem applauded the fact that the Legislature approved most of South Dakota’s medical cannabis rules. She told reporters that it positions her administration nicely to properly enforce a robust medical cannabis program.

“I commend the Department of Health for its hard work to streamline the process,” Noem is quoted as saying in an official statement. “South Dakota will continue to implement the best, most patient-focused medical cannabis program in the country.”

Most changes to South Dakota’s medical cannabis rules were praised by lobbyists

A number of lobbyists who were providing representation for medical groups and the cannabis industry protested against a handful of South Dakota’s cannabis rules. However, most were pleased with the DOH’s rule-making process.

Extending over five hours, the meeting saw lawmakers ask Malsam-Rysdon questions about the changes to South Dakota’s medical cannabis rules. In particular, a rule proposal that would have restricted the amount of high-potency cannabis that patients could possess attracted a great deal of questioning.

“Concentrated cannabis in a smokeable form is shown to be more addictive,” Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon told lawmakers. However, they paid little attention to her words as they proceeded to dismiss the limitation on high-potency cannabis.

Moving forward, the DOH must decide if it wants to amend the rejected rules and reintroduce them to the legislature within just a few weeks. Based on the state’s medical cannabis law, the government must enact the rules no later than October 29 and issue identification cards by November 18.