South Dakota made history as the first state to legalize both adult-use and medical cannabis with one ballot vote. And because both measures were on a single ballot, it created a political storm that saw law enforcement and the state governor file lawsuits.
Gov. Kristi Noem has been staunchly opposed to cannabis legalization and decriminalization contained in Amendment A. While taxpayers voted in favor of Amendment A in the November 2020 election, taxpayer dollars are being used to halt the legislation.
In April 2021, a circuit court judge agreed with Gov. Kristi Noem. If the Supreme Court agrees, the Governor does not want the matter to go back to the House of Representatives. This means cannabis legalization (medical and adult-use) would have to start over from scratch with newly drafted legislation.
As of October 2021, the South Dakota Supreme Court had not made a decision regarding Amendment A. In the interim, other legislation to promote public safety was passed. The South Dakota House Bill 1061 was enacted. The bill makes smoking or consuming any kind of cannabis product in a vehicle a crime. The new legislation made it a Class 2 Misdemeanor offense.
The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe opened a dispensary on tribal lands. That is currently the only legal medical cannabis dispensary open in South Dakota. And the Tribe is also issuing medical cards to eligible patients over the age of twenty-one years.
The state must start issuing medical cannabis cards no later than November 18, 2021. Over 140 proposed rules have now been approved for the medical and adult-use programs in South Dakota. Only six of the interim rules were rejected by the committee.
If the current legislation of Amendment A is enacted, adults aged eighteen (18) and older will be allowed to apply for a South Dakota medical card. If adult use is legalized in South Dakota, residents will need to be aged twenty-one (21) years or older.
The qualifying health conditions for medical cannabis in South Dakota according to the approved proposed rules are:
Physicians providing the medical card health evaluation must note that the symptoms are debilitating. That means the patient’s activities of daily living are impeded by the symptoms, to qualify for medical cannabis.
Because South Dakota will be launching both the medical cannabis program and adult-use, there will be a full assortment of legal products in dispensaries.
Unless there are further amendments, adults aged twenty-one years and older will be able to buy the following products in a licensed South Dakota Dispensary:
The current legislation states that people under the age of 21 will not be able to purchase or use smokable products. Medical card holders 18-20 will not have the option to purchase whole flower cannabis or vape.
Patients must be eighteen (18) years of age or older to apply for a medical card. A diagnosis of one or more than one of the qualifying health conditions is required.
The fee for registration and renewal of the medical card varies depending on patient circumstance:
Yes. Patients will be required to complete the application for the medical card online. Registration will require a passport quality picture, documentation including proof of age and residency in the state of South Dakota. Income documentation such as tax returns may be provided to qualify for the reduced registration fee for low-income residents. Caregivers must furbish additional documentation.
South Dakota does have a caregiver program as part of the new medical cannabis legislation. This means parents or legal guardians of minors, and also caregivers for adults with special needs and chronic health conditions.
The first step is to register the patent with the South Dakota medical cannabis program. Once the patient has been registered a caregiver can be designated.
A caregiver must provide proof of guardianship for the patient. A patient may have more than one caregiver, who will be identified on the patient’s medical card.
Caregivers may also be certified to grow cannabis at home for the patient in their care. That requires an additional fee and special documentation. Patients with a medical card or caregivers may legally cultivate up to three (3) plants at home.
Annual renewal is required for both patients and caregivers. The South Dakota medical card renewal requires a new health check and evaluation annually, along with a $75 renewal fee. Patients may also qualify for a reduced fee for lower-income residents.
Requesting a replacement card may be done online through the patient portal. States charge a fee for the replacement card, however, there is no information available regarding the cost of a replacement medical card in South Dakota.
Medical cannabis will be available in retail dispensaries in South Dakota. However, products may not be available until 2022 or 2023, depending on licensing requirements. The state will also have to implement both adult-use and medical cannabis program laws, including testing and packaging requirements. Patients may be waiting over a year before medical cannabis products can be purchased.
Medical marijuana has been legal in South Dakota, since voters approved Amendment A, on November 3, 2020.
There has been just as much conflict over passing Amendment A to allow state initiatives on voter ballots, as there has been about legalizing cannabis in South Dakota. Here are some standout moments from the timeline of cannabis legalization in South Dakota:
November, 1988—Voters in South Dakota bypassed the legislature by voting in favor of Constitutional Amendment A. It passed with a narrow majority vote of 52% to 48%, with 153,168 voters in favor. Amendment A meant that voters did not have to put an initiative before the legislature for approval, in order to have a state question appear on the ballot.
Source Web 2021: sdsos.gov
2006—Initiated Measure 4 was the first attempt to legalize medical marijuana in South Dakota. Voters at that time did not support the legalization of medical cannabis. Only 47.7% of voters approved the measure, and IM 4 did not pass.
Source Web 2021: sdsos.gov
2010—A new attempt was made to legalize medical marijuana in South Dakota with Initiated Measure 13, in 2010. But it did not get voter support, with 63% (199,552) of South Dakota residents voting against IM 13.
Source Web 2021: sdsos.gov
March, 2021—The South Dakota HB 1203 bill was passed and signed into law by Gov. Noem on March 29, 2021. This legislation provided legal protections for banks to provide financial services for hemp or marijuana businesses. And individuals who derive income from a cannabis-related business.
Source Web 2021: billtrack50.com
Get immediate access to South Dakota’s Full Medical Marijuana Laws. Learn all you should know about legal regulations for possession, use, prescription, cultivation and sale of cannabis for medical or recreational usage. These important laws are written in a way you can read and understand quickly without consulting a lawyer for interpretation.