SD Lawmakers continue cultivation of state’s Medical Marijuana program

The latest hurdle included questions brought forth during the Medical Marijuana Oversight Committee meeting on July 14.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — South Dakota lawmakers continue down the path to cultivating the state’s medical marijuana program.

On July 14, State Representatives Taylor Rehfeldt (District 14) and Ernie Otten (District 6), along with State Senator Erin Tobin (District 21) met with industry experts and patients during the Medical Marijuana Oversight Committee. 

But despite the work during the committee meeting, questions still loomed.

The first question that arose was how the state lab can test samples while also getting the medicine out to patients.

Legislators say that having more dispensaries around the state to test the supply will give it a consistent supply of medical cannabis.

“The hope is that probably by the end of September or October, we will have some product coming to patients,” State Sen. Tobin said.

Tobin also touched on concern by dispensaries, specifically for the review of certain rules for how dispensaries can operate.

Another question lawmakers raised was to the definition to the “debilitating medical condition” that’s written in the current legislation.

Lawmakers also looked at changes to the maximum amount of time to receive a medical marijuana card, which is 180 days.

“But now that our program’s, you know, hopefully going to be functioning soon, we’re going to be better and more efficient,” State Sen. Tobin said. “Maybe we can make that maximum a little less so that patients can get their cards right away if they need em’.”

Tobin made nine total recommendations for the committee to research before the next meeting in October.

 

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Those recommendations or questions were as follows:

  1. Card trial period — if a card is to be revoked after 90 days, can the person still be given a one-year clearance without have to pay another fee?
  2. Can the legislature take a look at improving the maximum amount of time to get a medical marijuana card?
  3. Severe debilitating medical conditions – varies state to state, some have a longer list, research is going to continue to improve. Do we want this committee to make a recommendation to the legislature to change the process and/or the list?
  4. What do we think about card clinics? Do we want this to fill the gap when patients need cards and if so – how can we make sure those patients have the right kind of follow up?a. Provider list is private – Could this be an opt out?b. Is there a way to hand off to a primary care provider?
  5. Rules promulgation process for the 5 tabs that J.M. Mentioned – Recommendation already sent to DOH.
  6. Remove sales tax on medical cannabisa. Not really a prescription but is a supplement. Not really a supplement either.b. What is the impact on patient access considering many are patients who access the Medicaid/Medicare programs?
  7.  2nd amendment protection – protect law abiding citizens (HB 85 & 310 – Missouri)a. Federal law vs State law – which we are already crossing the line with legalizing MJ and should we further protect our Citizens?
  8. Further discussion around budget. Keep committee aware of the balance of revenue and cost.
  9. Clarification as to which licensed officials are not subject to discipline for marijuana use if they have a valid card and are following the advice of their practitioner.

Lawmakers remind that no matter what recommendations or what comes out of the committee, it will still need to be voted on during the legislative session next January.

“It’s really not lawmaking, it’s just us digging through the issues as they come across so that we can better serve the patients that need the medicine,” State Sen. Tobin said.

The next meeting will be held in Pierre at the capitol building on October 25 at 9 a.m.

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