South Dakota Medical Marijuana Card

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What is Medical Marijuana in South Dakota?

In South Dakota, medical marijuana refers to the legal use of marijuana, also known as weed or cannabis, in treating and easing symptoms of state-approved debilitating medical conditions. South Dakota's medical marijuana laws are yet to be implemented in the state and will be enacted on July 1, 2021. Medical marijuana use in a state is made possible through state-approved medical marijuana programs, even though Marihuana is classified as a class I controlled substance under federal drugs laws. South Dakota medical marijuana programs use cannabis to treat several conditions due to the over 100 distinct cannabinoids (compounds) found in the cannabis plant. Cannabis main cannabinoids considered in patients' treatment include delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These chemicals are perceived to interact with the human body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), causing numerous positive effects such as soothing pains and stimulating appetites. South Dakota is yet to implement an active medical marijuana program. State residents and non-residents would be allowed access to legal medical marijuana use on implementing these programs. Presently marijuana possession by adults within South Dakota is decriminalized per the state Constitutional Amendment A.

Is Medical Marijuana Legal in South Dakota?

Yes, medical marijuana is legal in South Dakota for participants in the state's medical marijuana program. South Dakota legalized medical cannabis through a successful ballot measure in November 2020 when 70% of voters approved Initiated Measure No. 26 (IM26), a measure seeking to decriminalize medical cannabis. Ultimately, IM26 became Chapter 34-20G of the South Dakota Codified Law (SDCL). This chapter laid down the rules regulating the use of medical cannabis in the state, including the establishment of the South Dakota Medical Cannabis Program. The program, under the South Dakota Department of Health's (DOH) supervision, began accepting patients and practitioners shortly after the law's codification.

Who Can Get Medical Marijuana in South Dakota?

In South Dakota, medical marijuana is only legal for qualifying patients enrolled in the state's medical marijuana program. To be eligible, a prospective patient must be 18 years or older and reside in the state. They must also be diagnosed with one of the approved debilitating conditions recognized under Subsection 8, Chapter 34-20G-1 of the SDCL. These debilitating conditions are chronic illnesses that cause, or whose treatments cause, any of the following:

  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Severe or debilitating pain
  • Chronic nausea
  • Seizures
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those caused by multiple sclerosis

South Dakotans can petition the DOH to add more serious conditions to the list of approved qualifying conditions. Chapter 34-20G- 26 of the SDCL mandates the DOH to approve or deny any petition received within 180 days of submission.

In addition to adult residents, South Dakota also allows minors access to medical marijuana as long as they are diagnosed with any of the listed conditions. The state also allows out-of-state medical marijuana patients to get medical cannabis while visiting South Dakota. These individuals can email the state's medical marijuana program for more information.

Can You Grow Medical Marijuana in South Dakota?

Yes. Residents with South Dakota's medical marijuana cards are allowed to grow marijuana at home. Subsection 1 Chapter 34-20G-1 of the SDCL, permits a cardholder to cultivate up to three cannabis plants at home, with the allowance to grow more. However, the DOH requires approved medical marijuana patients to indicate their desire to grow cannabis at home while joining the state's medical marijuana program. In addition, the evaluating physician must consent to the applicant's request to cultivate marijuana at home before the DOH grants approval. Those seeking to grow more than three marijuana plants at home must also seek the permission of their physicians.

According to Chapter 44:90:02:07 of the Administrative Rules, the DOH requires home cannabis cultivation sites to be enclosed and locked. As a rule, applicants must include photographs of their intended cultivation facilities during registration. Upon approval, successful applicants will receive two registry identification cards. One of the cards must be on the door of the enclosed and locked cultivation space, while the other must always be with the cardholder.

The rules guiding cannabis home cultivation may change as Governor Kristi Noem recently signed new legislation, SB 24, into law. This law, set to take effect from July 1, 2022, increases the maximum number of cannabis plants cardholders can grow at home to four, including two flowering and two non-flowering plants.

Do You Need to See a Doctor to Get Medical Marijuana in South Dakota?

Yes. South Dakotans must undergo medical evaluation by state-licensed physicians before enrolling in the state's medical cannabis program. A physician, as defined by Chapter 34-20G-1 Subsection 20 of the SDCL, refers to a state-licensed individual who has the authority to prescribe drugs to humans. The state recently passed legislation permitting more healthcare professionals to participate in the state's medical cannabis program. In March 2022, Governor Kristi Noem signed Senate Bill 26 into law, effective from July 1, 2022. This law replaced physicians, as currently used, with healthcare practitioners. As a result, physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses as well as physicians are now eligible to participate in the program. South Dakota does not publish a list of healthcare practitioners participating in its medical cannabis program.

Can a Minor Get a Medical Marijuana Card in South Dakota?

Yes. A minor can enroll as a patient in South Dakota's medical cannabis program and obtain a registry identification card. However, the parents or legal guardians of eligible minors must consent to the minors' participation and act as their' primary caregivers.

How to Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in South Dakota

Individuals seeking to enroll in South Dakota's medical marijuana program must undergo a pre-application medical evaluation. As required by law, state-licensed physicians must evaluate all applicants and certify their eligibility to participate in the program. Upon completion of the medical assessment, applicants receive emails notifying them of their newly created patient accounts on the program's application portal. The DOH requires applicants to log onto their profiles, with the temporary passwords provided, to activate the accounts. Applicants must then change their temporary passwords before continuing to the online application.

Completing the online application involves providing all the required information and uploading the necessary accompanying documents. The documents required for applying as a patient in South Dakota's medical marijuana program include:

  • A valid ID with the bearer's photo, such as a state-issued driver's license, a US passport, a tribal identification card, or a student identification card issued by a high school or an accredited institution of higher education within South Dakota
  • A 2x2-inch photograph showing the applicant's face
  • Proof of low-income or financial aid status, if seeking a reduced fee allowed for indigent applicants. Acceptable proofs include wage stubs or earning statement for the past 30 days, most recent federal income tax return and self-employment ledgers (if self-employed), or evidence of participation in benefits such as Supplemental Security Income, workers' compensation, unemployment benefits, Bureau of Indian Affairs general assistance, child support, rental income, or veterans' benefits for the preceding 12 months

The applicant must also indicate their desire to cultivate medical cannabis at home and provide the details of their designated caregiver while completing their registration. A minor applying for a South Dakota medical marijuana card must also provide an attestation from their custodial parent or legal guardian.

After providing the required information, the applicant can then pay their application fee online. If they designated a caregiver, this individual will receive an email to create their registry account and complete their online application too.

Does South Dakota Allow Medical Marijuana Patients to Designate Caregivers?

Yes. Caregivers help patients with the cultivation, purchasing, and administering of medical marijuana. While adult patients may name caregivers, South Dakota requires minor patients to designate caregivers while enrolling in its medical marijuana program. According to SDCL 34-20G-1(10), a medical marijuana caregiver in South Dakota must be 21 years or older and not have a prior felony conviction that disqualifies them.

The DOH is not responsible for assigning caregivers to patients. Patients, or individuals responsible for patients' medical decisions, notify the DOH of their preferred caregivers through their evaluating healthcare practitioners. By default, the DOH makes the parents or legal guardians of minors their primary caregivers. However, if the reviewing physicians believe that minor patients require multiple caregivers, their parents can name other people to be caregivers as well. Adult patients may also have several caregivers if their assessing healthcare practitioners recommend this option. Patients can appoint healthcare or residential care facility personnel to be their primary caregivers on the premises after obtaining their consent.

In South Dakota, a primary caregiver can only care for up to five patients at a time. An exception is made for healthcare or residential care personnel. These individuals can care for more than five patients as long as these patients reside on their facilities' premises.

What Is the Cost of a South Dakota Medical Marijuana Card?

South Dakota charges a $75 annual registration fee for its medical marijuana card. However, applicants who can prove their low-income status pay a reduced fee of $20. The state charges an extra $20 fee to medical marijuana patients wishing to cultivate cannabis at home. There is also an additional $20 fee for each additional designated caregiver for individuals designating multiple caregivers. Out-of-state patients applying for South Dakota's medical marijuana card must pay a $75 fee when submitting their applications. A South Dakota medical marijuana card must be renewed annually. The state charges the same fees for renewal as initial application.

What Do You Need When Visiting a Medical Marijuana Dispensary in South Dakota?

When visiting a licensed medical marijuana dispensary to purchase medical cannabis in South Dakota, you must provide your medical cannabis card, photo ID, and written certification from your evaluating healthcare practitioner. Dispensaries require these documents to verify your identity, registration status, and the prescribed amount of medical cannabis.

How to Renew Your South Dakota Medical Marijuana Card

Medical marijuana cardholders in South Dakota must renew their medical marijuana cards no later than 45 days before they expire. To renew your South Dakota medical marijuana card, you must be re-evaluated by a state-licensed healthcare practitioner and then visit the medical marijuana portal online to complete the renewal application and make payments. Patients can remove, add, or substitute caregivers at the time of renewal.

Is it Possible to Overdose on Cannabis in South Dakota?

In South Dakota, there have been no fatal overdoses resulting solely from cannabis use. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a fatal overdose from cannabis use is unlikely. The similarities between the typical effects of marijuana use and the symptoms of marijuana overdose make discerning an overdose symptom tricky. Some of these overdose symptoms include extreme versions of the following;

  • Anxiety
  • Delusions
  • Extreme confusion.
  • Fast heart rate.
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Involuntary movements
  • Paranoia
  • Panic
  • Severe nausea

If I am Pregnant, Can I Use Cannabis to Relieve Nausea in South Dakota?

No, in a resource guide publication by South Dakota's Stanford school of medicine on alcohol and drug use during pregnancy, Cannabis use during pregnancy was strongly advised against including its use in nausea relief by pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. Due to the effects of THC, cannabis's main psychoactive compound, and the fast rate at which it spreads throughout the body. When ingested, cannabis is absolved into the bloodstream reducing the amount of oxygen it carries hence affecting heart rate and blood pressure. Several developmental issues in infants have also been linked to cannabis use by their mothers during pregnancy, which includes;

  • Poor response to visual stimuli
  • Behavioral problems
  • Neurological developmental problems
  • Poor decisions making skills

Hence, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should steer clear of consuming cannabis through any means. This is due to cannabis effects remaining the same, no matter the mode of consumption.

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