Close to another thousand South Dakotans have joined the state’s medical cannabis program in the past month according to Department of Health statistics.
Compared to many other US states, South Dakota was a medical cannabis holdout. The state’s residents were on board with it for some time, but some of its lawmakers were very hesitant – including Governor Kristi Noem.
But back in 2020, 69.92% of voters supported establishing a medical marijuana program for individuals with a debilitating medical condition under ballot measure IM-26.
While tight controls are in place, some access improvements to South Dakota’s program have been made over time. Governor Noem recently signed several bills into law amending the state’s regulations, one of which built on qualifying conditions. The flip side though is the same bill stipulated only lawmakers will be able to add new qualifying conditions going forward.
In spite of its challenges, South Dakota’s medical cannabis registry continues to grow at a healthy rate. The Department of Health noted that as at early last week, there were 10,019 approved patient cards and 221 approved practitioners. That’s up from 9,103 cards and 212 approved practitioners as at April 24 this year.
Looking back to a year ago (May 23, 2022), there were just 824 approved patient cards and 98 approved physicians. The first medical cannabis patient cards for the state were printed and issued on November 18, 2021.
Today, it works out that equivalent to around 1% of the state’s residents have an approved patient card, and of course the proportion would be higher based on adult population only.
For all its red tape, something available to registered patients in South Dakota that still isn’t in many states is the ability to home grow. As part of obtaining a registry identification card, applicants may also apply to cultivate no more than two flowering cannabis plants and two cannabis plants that are not flowering plants in their home.
In South Dakota, there’s generally a non-refundable fee of $75 for the registry identification card; but it’s only $20 in the case of low-income applicants. An additional $20 fee is applied for home cultivation registration. These are annual fees.
You can learn more about South Dakota’s medical cannabis program here.