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Medical Marijuana Not Likely In SD

May 16, 2014, 5:55 PM by Jared Ransom

Medical Marijuana Not Likely In SD
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Discussing medical marijuana is nothing new for South Dakota lawmakers.

"The first time I was involved in the legislative races was 2006 and it was actually on our ballot to allow medical marijuana in the State of South Dakota, and I believe that came close to passing," Democratic Representative Marc Feinstein said.

The measure lost by 5 percent.

"There have been some bills that have come forward, but they have not made it out of any committee structures so that we would have a serious conversation," Republican Senator Deb Soholt said.

The most recent bill came in 2013. It would've allowed people accused of possession or ingesting marijuana to prove they have a medical need for the drug. It was rejected in committee seven to six.

"Well, I think on face value, it looks like it would appear like a yes or no question, but it's really quite complex," Soholt said.

Even with the failed history of medical marijuana legislation, both legislators believe that the momentum is there for a detailed discussion and debate.

"The discussion, I believe, will happen. How it will fare in the House or the Senate or even at the Governor's desk, whoever the Governor is next year, remains to be seen," Feinstein.

However, the details of any marijuana legislation could derail any chance at a successful bill.

"It's something that we have to be careful before anything like that is implemented to make sure that it isn't abused or misused or misapplied," Feinstein said.

"Then you have another host of issues of addiction and rehabilitation and what is the overall cost to society. So, I think as a conservative state, we would probably be somewhat reticent to legalize marijuana in all ways," Soholt said.

Both legislators feel that while discussion on any topic is beneficial in the legislative process, progress on medical marijuana in South Dakota will be limited at best.

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