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Medical Marijuana Cards

Concerns Raised Over Excessive Issuance of Medical Marijuana Cards in South Dakota

A coalition comprising South Dakota legislators, regulators, and law enforcement officials is expressing apprehension regarding the substantial number of medical marijuana cards granted to patients in the state.

Jennifer Seale, administrator of the state’s medical marijuana (MMJ) program, revealed to the Medical Marijuana Oversight Committee, which is controlled by the Republican majority in the Legislature, that nearly 12,000 patient cards have been issued under the program.

This figure is twice the initial projections, surpassing estimations by at least a year, as reported by South Dakota Public Broadcasting.

The surge in demand has prompted several committee members to raise doubts about the legitimacy of the MMJ card approval procedure. They have proposed more stringent monitoring measures, including the stipulation of approval from a primary physician or a board-certified specialist.

While law enforcement and the committee’s prominent Republican members put forth assertions during the meeting to enhance oversight, many of these claims lacked substantiation, as reported by Sioux Falls TV station KELO.

In July 2022, Unity Rd. achieved the distinction of becoming the first state-licensed MMJ dispensary by opening its doors in Hartford, near Sioux Falls.

During 2020, a majority of voters (54%) endorsed a measure that would have allowed the commercial cultivation and sale of recreational marijuana. However, this decision was overturned by a lawsuit supported by the state.

At that time, South Dakota created history by becoming the first state where voters granted approval for both medical and recreational marijuana in the same election.

In the recent past, South Dakota voters rejected a proposition last November that would have permitted adults to possess and utilize home-grown cannabis, although it wouldn’t have established a market for adult-use cannabis.

Proposed regulations for South Dakota’s MMJ program are anticipated to be introduced to the Legislature in November. The political landscape is dominated by the GOP, controlling both chambers of the Legislature as well as the governorship.