Legislators overhaul SD medical marijuana panel

Legislators overhaul SD medical marijuana panel

South Dakota’s medical marijuana oversight committee will have a lot of new faces this year when the panel returns to work, after state lawmakers decided in the 2023 session that it needed a somewhat different look.

There’s now a clear preference among a majority of the Legislature’s Executive Board that the group stay in the middle, rather than veering too far toward tougher restrictions or broader availability. There’s also greater recognition that public schools have an interest, too, because students younger than 18 can receive medical-cannabis cards if they qualify.

That center-oriented approach came across last week in the board’s appointments. There will still be 11 seats, but only two of the past members — Republican Sen. Erin Tobin, who chaired the initial group, and patient Elizabeth Tiger of Spearfish — will be back.

Joining them on the 2023 version of the panel are Republican Rep. Roger DeGroot, Republican Rep. Curt Massie, Republican Sen. Jim Mehlhaff, Pennington County Sheriff Brian Mueller, Sioux Falls Police Chief Jon Thum, physician Francine Arnold of Sioux Falls, physician’s assistant Katie Kassin of Vermillion, certified nurse practitioner Rachel Waddell of Rapid City, and counselor Megan Palmer of Sioux Falls.

Nearly 70% of South Dakota voters in 2020 said medical marijuana should be legalized. Where a majority of South Dakota voters fall on legalizing recreational marijuana isn’t as clear.

In that same 2020 general election, South Dakota voters approved a constitutional amendment that would have let people 21 and older use recreational marijuana 225,260-190,477; but the state’s Supreme Court. in a split decision, set it aside more than a year later. A second ballot attempt to legalize recreational marijuana in 2022 failed 163,584-183,879.

Whether there will be a third try in 2024 isn’t yet known. Matthew Schweich, who led the 2022 attempt, has submitted possible language to the South Dakota Secretary of State and the Legislative Research Council for review.

House Republican leader Will Mortenson meanwhile brought a slate of names for the Executive Board’s consideration Friday. About the appointments, he said, “These are not luxurious. They are not glamorous. They don’t really pay.”

You can read the full article at KELO-TV.