Updated on January 25, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
The state of South Dakota is one of the few in the country without a medical marijuana program. Attempts to pass legislation to allow patients access to the medicinal healing of cannabis have all failed, so far. There are still initiatives in the state to allow doctors to treat patients with cannabis products. In 2018 there is a chance South Dakotans may finally get access.
In 2006, a ballot initiative for a medical marijuana bill was defeated. A ballot initiative is a way for the voters in the state to initiate legislation or veto existing legislation. An initiative needs to collect a certain number of signatures to appear on the ballot, and the number of signatures required is based on the number of voters in the previous election.
Initiative 4 would have made small amounts of marijuana accessible for people suffering from debilitating medical conditions. It stipulated restrictions on the amount of marijuana a person could grow or possess and gave the Department of Health the authority to define which conditions could be treated with cannabis. Initiative 4 was defeated in 2006 by a narrow margin, 52.30% to 47.70%.
The measure came up again in 2010 and received enough signatures to get on the ballot. This time, Initiative 13 included a clause that would allow qualified patients to designate someone to cultivate their marijuana for them. The patient could assign their cultivation and possession rights to another, who would have to register with the state. Initiative 13 lost by a larger margin than in 2006, 63.31% to 36.69%.
In 2016, medical marijuana initiatives did not make it to the ballot. The requisite number of signatures were collected, but many were deemed invalid and thrown out. Efforts began in mid-2017 to get a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot for 2018. Those efforts include two measures, one for medical marijuana and one for recreational marijuana.
If the medical marijuana initiative makes it to the ballot in South Dakota in 2018 and it passes, unlike the two previous attempts, it will spell out qualifications for access to medical marijuana. Qualifying conditions under the 2018 initiative include:
Application for a medical marijuana card would be handled through the Department of Health. You would submit this information with your application:
An application fee and renewal fees would be assessed. The amount of those fees is not set by the proposed legislation but would be determined by the Department of Health.
A background check may be run on any designated caregivers. For patients under 18, additional documentation is required. They must submit proof they understand the benefits and risks of the treatment and an affidavit from a parent.
Medical marijuana cards could be denied to patients who provide false information or do not submit all the required materials and fees. Anyone who has had a medical marijuana card revoked in the past may have their application denied.