SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Medical marijuana now legal in South Dakota, but the only people currently issuing cards are the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe. The South Dakota Highway Patrol has issued guidance that they will only recognize these cards as valid if they belong to an enrolled member of the Tribe, and with the state not issuing cards until November 2021, the only other cards currently recognized are valid cards from other states.

But, the guidance from the Highway Patrol also states that citizens will not be arrested if they claim to have a valid medical reason to possess the marijuana, and can then prove their condition. With this in mind, many of those who could benefit from medical marijuana may be wondering if their doctor will sign off on their use of it.

KELOLAND News reached out to South Dakota’s health systems to find out what their current policy is for recommending/certifying use of medical marijuana.


Asked if Sanford Health will issue guidance to their physicians on recommending/certifying use of medical marijuana, a spokesperson sent KELOLAND News this response from Sanford Health Clinic Vice President, Dr. Joshua Crabtree:

“Sanford does not endorse or oppose the use of medical marijuana. We will wait to receive further guidance from the South Dakota Department of Health as they complete their process. Once the process is completed and implemented, Sanford doctors will determine the use of medical marijuana on an individual basis and what they feel is medically best for their patients.”

Dr. Joshua Crabtree

Asked for clarification on whether doctors could provide documentation of medical conditions for the purpose of obtaining medical marijuana, the spokesperson sent this response:

“Sanford providers are encouraged to wait to authorize the use of medical marijuana for patients until the State of South Dakota completes its process and develops a certification form for physician use.”

Dr. Joshua Crabtree


KELOLAND News reached out to Avera Health but has not received a response regarding their policy.


In a statement sent by a representative, Monument Health told KELOLAND News that, In general — our physicians are free to decide whether to certify.” This means any choice would need to be addressed and agreed upon between doctor and patient.


In reaching out to the VA, we were first referred to the Sioux Falls VA Healthcare System, who told us that they are unable to give specific comment, instead referring us to their national department policy.

This policy states that, VA clinicians may not recommend medical marijuana,” and “VA clinicians may only prescribe medications that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for medical use. At present most products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), or other cannabinoids are not approved for this purpose by the FDA.”

These statements seem to indicate VA doctors will not be allowed to recommend/certify the use of medical marijuana.


KELOLAND News spoke with a representative of Mobridge Regional Hospital and sent a list of questions via email, but have not yet received answers. This story will be updated when they are available.


A representative for Prairie Lakes told KELOLAND News that the healthcare system is currently in the process of working out their policy regarding medical marijuana, and is doing so with the assistance of the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations.

The representative declined to answer when asked if a hypothetical patient would be given the certification needed to attain medical marijuana, but told us that so far no doctors within their system have expressed interest in doing so. They also stated such a situation would be unlikely to occur, as Prairie Lakes Healthcare System does not operate primary care facilities.


KELOLAND News reached out to SDAHO to find out if they are providing any specific recommendations on guidance to South Dakota healthcare systems. The following statement was provided:

“SDAHO is actively providing information and resources to our members on best practices from other states that have implemented medical marijuana and on the state laws passed under Initiated Measure 26. It has always been and will continue to be up to each system to put in place their own policies in accordance with state law.”