Medical marijuana ban sought for some women

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A state lawmaker who helped lead the 2022 election fight against legalizing recreational marijuana in South Dakota now wants to prohibit the state Department of Health from issuing medical-marijuana patient cards to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

“To protect children,” Representative Fred Deutsch, a Florence Republican, said, when asked by KELOLAND News what he’s trying to accomplish. “There’s a lot of data on harmful effects on pre-born children and breastfeeding children.”

Deutsch filed the legislation Wednesday. Senator Al Novstrup, an Aberdeen Republican, is its lead sponsor in the Senate.

Nearly 70% of South Dakota voters favored legalizing medical marijuana in the 2020 election. Last year Deutsch served as treasurer for Protecting South Dakota Kids, a ballot-measure committee opposed to legalizing recreational marijuana for people aged 21 and older. Initiated Measure 27 lost 47-53%.

Deutsch also is a past chair for South Dakota Right to Life, which opposes legalized abortion.

Severe nausea is one of the debilitating conditions for which a South Dakota patient can receive a medical-marijuana card. Deutsch’s legislation says a card couldn’t be issued for “nausea associated with pregnancy.”