PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The latest round of regulations for South Dakota’s medical-cannabis program, including restrictions against off-site advertising, received a final blessing Tuesday from a panel of state lawmakers.

The 6-0 vote by the Legislature’s Rules Review Committee means all but one of the 149 proposals will be in effect when the state Department of Health begins processing applications for cards from patients and care-givers next month.

South Dakota voters last November approved IM 26 legalizing medical cannabis. The department must start issuing cards no later than November 18.

The legislators gave the green light to 143 of the proposed rules September 13 but turned down six. Five of those came back in different forms Tuesday.

IM 26 set a minimum of three home-cultivated cannabis plants for patients. The latest rules now say the physician’s recommendation that the patient be allowed to cultivate more than three plants expires 200 days after the date of the recommendation.

The rules also say a physician’s recommendation for an extended plant count must specify the
reasons for the extended plant count.

Those include the research on which the physician relied in calculating the amount of cannabis
required by the patient and that the risks associated with using that amount of cannabis are
outweighed by the benefits, as well as the difficulty the patient would experience in obtaining an adequate supply of cannabis from dispensaries due to the patient’s place of residence or level of disability.

South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations spokeswoman Sarah Aker told the committee the group is fine with that. “We no longer have any concerns with this rule,” she said.

No one else spoke for or against any of the package Tuesday.

Representative Kevin Jensen thanked Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon for making the changes.

“There’s a lot of varying opinions about this whole process and about where we’re headed in the future here. I really very much appreciate the effort that goes into cleaning these up and bringing them back,” he said.

The department on Monday opened the process for establishments to apply for medical-cannabis licenses. That came on the heels of the department issuing guidelines for whether businesses should seek a state or local license. Both are required.

Meanwhile the Legislature’s committee studying potential changes to medical cannabis and adult-use marijuana meets Wednesday, October 27. One of the topics is whether to recommend legislation that would legalize marijuana generally for people age 21 and older and keeping the medical-cannabis program in place for younger people.

South Dakota voters last November approved Constitutional Amendment A legalizing adult-use marijuana and taxing it at 15%. Governor Kristi Noem opposed both Amendment A and IM 26. After the election, she succeeded in halting Amendment A from taking effect. The South Dakota Supreme Court is considering the appeal.