SD Senate passes bill defining medical conditions that qualify for cannabis

PIERRE, S.D.(SDBA)- Marijuana is again before legislators in Pierre.

On Thursday, the Senate passed a bill defining which physical and mental ailments would qualify a patient to obtain state certification for medical marijuana.

The South Dakota Department of Health wants legislators to define the qualifying illnesses.

That is because they say they do not have the expertise to make those determinations.

Sen. Lee Schoenbeck from Watertown said he supports medical cannabis but that the voters intended that the health department should make those determinations.

Other legislators said medical marijuana was on the way to becoming recreational marijuana.

One legislator held up a brochure about a “pop up” clinic at a Rapid City hotel that offered half off if a patient brought a friend.

Sen. Erin Tobin, a nurse practitioner from Winner, said the changes in the law would make her more confident in recommending medical cannabis to her patients.

Tobin also said the voters had decided the issue, and the matter before the Senate was how best to implement that voter intent.

The measure passed 20 to 15.

It will now be assigned to a House committee for consideration.