State board sets medical cannabis rules for South Dakota’s K-12 school districts

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Proposed rules for South Dakota’s public and private K-12 schools to administer medical cannabis to students have received approval.

The state Board of Education Standards unanimously OK’d them Monday on a voice vote. “I think we’ll be charting new territory,” president Jacqueline Sly of Rapid City said.

Speaking in support was Wade Pogany, executive director for the Associated School Boards of South Dakota. He said his organization will help school districts with their local policies.

“We call this filling in the gaps,” Pogany told the state board. ”You folks are in charge of the what. We’ll help with the how.” 

Gerry Kaufman, a lawyer from Huron who recently retired as the association’s legal counsel, testified as an opponent but said his purpose was to point out places that could be strengthened. One suggestion was a statewide form that parents could use.

The board’s vice president, Becky Guffin of Aberdeen, said the state Department of Education should provide ongoing training for school districts. “This is really uncharted territory for all of us,” Guffin said.

Sly said the rules could be changed. “Sometimes we miss things or need to adjust things,” she said.

They are patterned after Colorado’s school regulations. The state Department of Health is drawing up rules for the rest of the medical marijuana program that nearly 70% of South Dakota voters approved in November. The laws take effect July 1 but health care practitioners aren’t expected to start issuing the required medical cards before some point in October.

The South Dakota school rules have “wiggle room” so that schools can fit their local circumstances, according to Sly. “We just need that flexibility within our state because we have so many different needs and the support we have available in our schools,” she said. 

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