South Dakota: Mixed Bag of Cannabis Bills Advance to Governor’s Desk

Pierre, SD: A pair of medical cannabis reform bills have been advanced by the legislature and await action from Republican Gov. Kristi Noem.

The first bill, Senate Bill 1, expands the pool of patients eligible to receive medical cannabis authorizations to include those explicitly diagnosed with AIDS/HIV, ALS, multiple sclerosis, cancer (or who are undergoing chemotherapy), Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, and/or post-traumatic stress. However, the legislation repeals provisions providing patients and others the ability to petition health department officials to add additional qualifying conditions in the future. Going forward, lawmakers will have the sole discretion to add new qualifying conditions. 

The second bill, House Bill 1053, prohibits health practitioners from providing patients with an authorization to access medical cannabis if they are either pregnant or breastfeeding. No other state explicitly imposes similar restrictions. (Last year, members of the Alabama Senate approved similar legislation requiring women of childbearing age to show proof of a negative pregnancy test before they could apply to obtain medical cannabis; however, that bill eventually failed in the House.)

In January, the Arizona Supreme Court held that a mother’s authorized use of medical cannabis to treat symptoms of morning sickness did not constitute child neglect under the state’s child welfare laws.

According to survey data published last year, a small percentage of patients acknowledge having used cannabis to treat symptoms of Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). However, among those that do, most say that it is more effective than prescription medications at reducing severe nausea and vomiting.

NORML opposes HB 1053 because it unduly interferes with doctor/patient relations.

For information on additional legislation, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center.’

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