South Dakota Working to Avoid Medical Cannabis Delays

South Dakota officials are working to avoid delaying the state’s medical cannabis program, which was approved by voters last year but is opposed by some state leaders.

Full story after the jump.

The South Dakota Department of Health (DOH) will host meetings and a telephone town hall prior to medical cannabis rules taking effect to avoid any last-minute delays for the program, the Associated Press reports.

South Dakota’s medical cannabis initiative was approved last November by an overwhelming number of voters. Addressing concerns from Sen. Lee Schoenbeck (R), Health Secretary Kim Malsam said in a legislative hearing last week the DOH will have a “solid set of rules” in the Fall but knows the program may change in the coming years.

“We’ll have a continual process of refinement.” — Malsam, via AP News

Her view is opposed by Gov. Kristi Noem (R), who attempted to delay South Dakota’s newly passed medical cannabis initiative this session on the grounds the state wouldn’t have enough time to set up a proper system. She cited other states with “hasty” medical cannabis rollouts and their resulting “mess,” according to the report.

In other recent medical cannabis developments, South Dakota‘s Department of Revenue (DOR) has determined the state should charge sales tax on medical cannabis, despite prescription drugs normally not being taxed. Chief Legal Counsel for the DOR Michael Houdyshell said in the report that medical cannabis should be taxed because it is not “prescribed” like other drugs.

South Dakota made history in November 2020, passing its medical cannabis and adult-use initiatives at the same time. However, both have received blowback from law enforcement and the governor’s office. While the medical cannabis initiative is moving forward despite the governor’s attempted delays, the adult-use cannabis initiative was challenged in court on the claim that it covered more than one subject and was struck down by a circuit court earlier this year. The adult-use initiative was recently scheduled for a hearing in the South Dakota Supreme Court, where its fate hangs in the balance.

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