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Concerns About Qualifications Expressed During Med Marijuana Town Hall
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Medical Marijuana
PBS

South Dakota’s medical marijuana law takes effect July 1st.  But state health officials still need to issue regulations and create a distribution process.  

South Dakota voters approved the ballot measure last fall. Secretary of Health, Kim Malsam-Rysdon, says the language in state law is the same as the original initiated measure. She says to get a medical marijuana I-D card a physician must certify that a patient qualifies.  

“And that definition is 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.” 

Malsam-Rysdon says a physician must also certify the patient will benefit from cannabis use.   

Many comments at the town hall meetings came from people who say those qualifications are too narrow and restrictive.  

Malsam-Rysdon says the department has drafted a petition process to add to the list of qualifying medical conditions. Two South Dakota physicians need to write letters of support. The petition also needs to include peer-reviewed research showing that medical marijuana provides better outcomes or fewer side effects than current treatments. 

The state has until October 29th to set up its medical marijuana program. To read the health department’s draft rules go to med cannabis dot s-d dot gov. 

The South Dakota Department Health is taking comments on its medical marijuana draft rules until July 9th. Email comments to DOHcomments@state.sd.us