PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Department of Health should no longer decide the conditions that qualify a patient for medical-marijuana use, the state Senate said Thursday.
The 20-15 vote sends SB-1 over to the House of Representatives for further consideration. The legislation came at the recommendation of the Legislature’s Medical Marijuana Oversight Committee that Republican Sen. Erin Tobin chairs.
Tobin, a nurse practitioner from Winner, said taking away the department’s authority to set conditions and putting it with lawmakers instead gave her more confidence to prescribe medical marijuana for a patient.
She said the department doesn’t have a medical professional on its staff to decide on conditions. “This is something the Department of Health needs,” Tobin said about the change.
Other senators who spoke in favor were Republicans Sydney Davis, Michael Rohl and Bryan Breitling.
Senators who spoke against making the change included Republicans Brent Hoffman, Al Novstrup, Julie Frye-Mueller, Helene Duhamel, Lee Schoenbeck and Jim Mehlhaff.
Schoenbeck said the initiated measure that nearly 70% of voters approved in 2020 called for the Department of Health to set conditions. “That is the will of the voters,” he said.
State law says a patient who has received the department’s approval can use medical marijuana for “a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe, debilitating pain; severe nausea; seizures; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis.”
The department lists those as AIDS and HIV; ALS known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease; multiple sclerosis; cancer associated with severe or chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, or cachexia or severe wasting; Crohn’s disease; epilepsy and seizures; and glaucoma.
As of Jan. 17, the department had approved 202 practitioners and 6,571 patient cards.