South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem recently signed several bills into law amending the state’s medical cannabis regulations.
On a somewhat positive note, Senate Bill 1 sees more patients eligible to receive medical cannabis authorizations. This includes patients diagnosed with:
- ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- MS (multiple sclerosis)
- Cancer (or patients undergoing chemotherapy)
- Crohn’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress
But Senate Bill 1 also contained a nasty sting in its tail – patients and other parties will no longer be able to petition South Dakota health department officials to add more qualifying conditions. Only lawmakers will be able to add new qualifying conditions.
Another bill to get Governor Noem’s blessing is House Bill 1053. This prohibits health practitioners from providing patients medical cannabis authorization if they are either pregnant or breastfeeding. NORML points out no other state explicitly imposes similar restrictions and the organisation said it had opposed this bill on the premise it unduly interferes with a doctor/patient relationship.
Also signed into law by the Governor was House Bill 1154, which modifies rules surrounding what is considered acceptable conduct for practitioners. Among the changes, a practitioner will be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor if the practitioner knowingly refers a patient to a medical cannabis establishment or to a designated caregiver in exchange for a financial incentive. Practitioners are also banned from issuing written certifications while holding a financial interest in a medical cannabis establishment.
A cannabis-related bill that didn’t pass muster with Governor Noem recently was one related to the amount of allowable THC levels in state-legal hemp products while those products are in process. We reported last week Governor Noem vetoed House Bill 1209 on the basis of her belief it would jeopardize the effectiveness and safety of South Dakota’s industrial hemp program.
Governor Noem isn’t a huge fan of medical cannabis and has been suspicious even of industrial hemp. She actively campaigned against a a citizens’ initiative that was successful in legalizing cannabis for medical purposes in the state in 2020. In this case, people power prevailed, but the Governor is keeping a very close eye on how things progress.