Medical marijuana cultivation a legal grey area in South Dakota

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — With the state process to approve medical cannabis dispensary and cultivation applications underway and the issuance of the first state sanctioned medical marijuana cards, the question some have now: how can I use medical marijuana?

According to Geno Adams, South Dakota’s Medical Cannabis Program Administrator, the first state approved cultivation facilities and dispensaries could be up and running as early as mid-spring 2022.

“We’ve been kind of given the guideline that by either mid- to late-spring or summer of next year, there could be product available depending on how fast [applicants] get licenses and how fast they get up and running,” he said.

Asked about what options are available to those who have a newly issued state medical card, Adams outlined a do-it-yourself approach.

“Through the state program, there is the allowance for home cultivation,” said Adams. “If they chose to home cultivate, they could start that immediately after they got their card.”

Adams says that to be licensed for home cultivation, a person would need to indicate during the application process that they wish to do home cultivation.

In terms of how a person licensed to grow medical marijuana at home can get started, the process to begin is unclear. Under federal law, the trafficking of marijuana or cannabis products is illegal, meaning that a home grower cannot legally bring cannabis plants or seeds into South Dakota. Asked how a home cultivator could begin the process, Adams didn’t have a clear answer.

Jacob Newton: How does one start home cultivation — how do you get the supplies, the seeds — things like that?
Adams: All I can comment on is the process from the state perspective, and that they would need to get that patient card that allows them to home cultivate, and there is a two-part registration when you do home cultivate. So they would have their patient card and they would also have another portion of the patient card that they would need to post on any box or lock box that they are doing their growing in. As far as the patient’s — you know — figuring out how to grow those plants and do that that would be up to the patient to figure that out.”
Newton: So there’s nothing kind of set up by the state program to assist [patients] with getting the plants themselves?
Adams: Nope.

Due to the federal ban on transporting marijuana and cannabis products across state lines, it is unclear how home cultivators, or commercial cultivators, will be able to get marijuana plants and seeds to begin cultivation.

According to guidance issued in July, Highway Patrol will not arrest South Dakota residents for possession of less than 3oz of marijuana as long as they have a valid state issued card or are an enrolled tribal member with a valid card issued by their tribe.

As it currently stands, the avenue through which a person with a state issued medical cannabis card can legally get cannabis products in South Dakota is go through the Flandreau Santee Sioux owned Native Nations Cannabis dispensary.

While the Flandreau Tribe recognizes valid cards from all states, buyers will still need a medical card issued by the tribe. To get one, a person already in possession of a state issued card would simply need to show their card and fill out the application.

For those looking to get a state card, the process begins by reaching out to your medical provider. An in-person physician visit is required. The doctor would then need to verify that medical cannabis would help the patient and begin the process on the online patient portal.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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