Despite voters legalizing recreational cannabis in the 2020 election, adult-use cannabis is still not legal in South Dakota. The ballot measure was struck down in the state supreme court after a challenge from the Governor. State activists are still exploring alternative ways to legalize recreational cannabis.
The medical marijuana program that was created on the same ballot initiative is limited and not yet fully operational, as dispensaries are still not open. Patients with qualifying conditions can get a certification from an approved physician to get a medical card, which allows them to possess three ounces of cannabis flower and grow up to three plants.
In July 2021, members of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe opened the state’s first legal medical marijuana dispensary, located on tribal land. The dispensary opened before the state began issuing medical marijuana ID cards, but the tribe began accepting applications through an independent tribal program.
According to the Argus Leader, the tribe charges a $50 application fee and prospective applicants must receive certification from a medical professional that they have a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition, including but not limited to AIDS, cancer, arthritis, migraines, and glaucoma, among others.
How to get a medical card in South Dakota
Measure 26 legalizes “the use, delivery, manufacture — and for state residents, cultivation of marijuana and marijuana-based products to treat or alleviate debilitating medical conditions certified by the patients’ practitioners.”
Under Measure 26, a medical marijuana cardholder can legally possess three ounces of marijuana, and if they are approved for cultivation, they may possess “a minimum of three plants, as well as marijuana and products made from those plants.”
The cannabis products allowed under the new law include concentrated cannabis, cannabis extracts, and products that are infused with cannabis or an extract thereof and are intended for use or consumption by humans.
The process for getting a medical cannabis card in South Dakota is as followed, as of July 2022:
- Schedule an appointment with a physician, who certifies that a patient can benefit from medical cannabis
- Create an account with the South Dakota Department of Health cannabis registration site, and provide an application, application fee, identification, and a passport-quality photo.
- If approved, a medical marijuana card will be issued via mail for use at state-certified dispensaries.
A patient in South Dakota may receive medical marijuana if they have a “bona fide practitioner-patient relationship” with a health practitioner who has consulted with them regarding their “debilitating medical condition.”
There isn’t a set list of conditions, rather, the text of the bill states that these debilitating medical conditions include “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 characteristics of multiple sclerosis; or any other medical condition or its treatment added by the department.”
The law allows for any resident of the state to petition to allow additional medical conditions to be added to the list.
The measure does not require insurance providers to cover cannabis treatments.
Non-residents holding medical cannabis cards will be able to access the program in South Dakota.
Where to buy cannabis in South Dakota
The state is in the process of certifying medical dispensaries throughout the state. As of July 2022, there were over 60 certified dispensaries in 30 counties and cities. However, most of these dispensaries are not yet open to the public.
Since recreational cannabis is not legal in South Dakota, you can face charges for possession, sale, or distribution of cannabis if you don’t have a medical card. Possession of less than two ounces or sale of ½ ounce less is a misdemeanor, but carrying or selling anything more is a felony.
Can you grow weed in South Dakota?
Medical cannabis cardholders can grow up to three plants at home, or more with a physician certification. You cannot cultivate cannabis without a medical card.
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