S.D. marijuana system could do double duty

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Department of Health reportedly is on track in choosing a vendor for its medical-marijuana program.

But the April 26 request for proposals also says the system would be used for putting Amendment A into effect.

Seven firms submitted proposals for the joint system. There will be oral presentations in July, according to Daniel Bucheli, the department’s communications director. He said a decision will be made no later than August 27.

Amendment A would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older. Governor Kristi Noem campaigned against both A and IM 26, the medical marijuana proposal. Voters approved A 54-46% and medical marijuana 70-30% in the November 3 election.

Shortly after the voting, Noem through Highway Patrol Superintendent Rick Miller went to court to get A declared invalid. The South Dakota Supreme Court is considering the case. Amendment A was supposed to start July 1.

Bucheli addressed the technology system possibly doing double duty.

A in its ballot-measure form would put the state Department of Revenue in charge, while IM 26 laid nearly all of the responsibility on the Department of Health.

Bucheli said the two staffs have been “working hand-in-hand” on the medical cannabis program that takes effect July 1.

Medical marijuana will be subject to the state 4.5% sales tax because a card-holder would receive a certification rather than a prescription.

“The text of Amendment A would have granted the Department of Revenue the exclusive power, for an example, to license and regulate the cultivation of marijuana, among other exclusive powers,” Bucheli said.

“It would be speculative to comment further until the South Dakota Supreme Court rules.  When the court makes its decision, we will review it and proceed accordingly,” he said.

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