State Prepares for Medical Cannabis Program


PIERRE, S.D. — In preparation for the statewide legalization of medical cannabis, which goes into effect July 1st, both the South Dakota Department of Health and the Department of Public Safety have set up implementations for the voters’ passage of IM-26.

The Department of Health released a preliminary list of eligible conditions that will be covered by the program. The preliminary list of conditions includes:

  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV);
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease;
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS);
  • Cancer associated with severe or chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, or cachexia or severe wasting;
  • Crohn’s disease;
  • Epilepsy and seizures;
  • Glaucoma; and
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“Under the law passed by the voters, patients must be experiencing a ‘debilitating medical condition’ and be certified by a doctor that medical cannabis will help alleviate their condition,” said South Dakota Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon. “This preliminary list of conditions meets the definition as passed by the voters, and is a result of feedback the department has already received. A process will be available for South Dakotans to petition to add more conditions to this list in the future.”

These conditions are in addition to the definition of “debilitating medical condition” as passed by the voters in IM-26, which is defined as, “A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe, debilitating pain; severe nausea; seizures; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis.” The conditions listed above will be included in the final rules package proposed by the Department.

For more information on South Dakota’s medical cannabis program, visit

The Department of Public Safety also released a framework that will be used by the South Dakota Highway Patrol and all other law enforcement agencies in South Dakota to issue enfocement guidance to all personnel interacting with the public.

The Framework covers questions for the most common situations South Dakota residents hoping to benefit from access to medical cannabis are likely to face after IM 26 goes into effect:

  1. “What if I don’t have a medical cannabis card?”
    • ANSWER: Highway Patrol personnel will not, at the scene of a stop or interaction, arrest a South Dakota resident who is unable to present an unexpired medical cannabis card, as long each of the following apply:
      • The individual possesses no more than three ounces of natural and unaltered marijuana, as defined by SDCL 22-42-1;
      • The individual claims at the time of the interaction that the medical cannabis is to treat or alleviate a debilitating medical condition as defined by the Department of Health;
      • The individual produces printed or electronic documentation relative to the debilitating medical condition from a licensed medical doctor.
  1. “What if I have a nonresident card?”
    • ANSWER: Highway Patrol personnel will not arrest nonresident cardholders for possession of cannabis, nor will they seize the cannabis or any associated paraphernalia, if the following applies:
      • The cardholder presents an unexpired medical cannabis card issued by another state; and
      • He or she possesses no more than three ounces of natural and unaltered cannabis, as defined by SDCL 22-42-1;
  1. “What if I have a tribal card?”
    • ANSWER: The nonresident card provision applies in this instance, so long as the cardholder is an enrolled tribal member and presents an unexpired medical cannabis card issued by the resident’s tribe.
Categories: Cannabis Legislation, South Dakota News