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Medical Marijuana Patients In South Dakota Find Protection In New Bill

Medical Marijuana Patients In South Dakota Find Protection In New Bill

The problem with state-wide cannabis legalization, or federal legalization, for that matter, is a lack of protection. Not only for legal recreational cannabis consumers but specifically for medical marijuana patients. The increasing fear of impaired driving under the influence of cannabis has remained a concern for lawmakers and taxpayers alike. However, that fear has also produced anxiety among medical marijuana patients due to the potential of bias targeting from law enforcement agents.

Thankfully, South Dakota is taking measures to protect the rights of medical patients across the state. According to NORML, Measure 26, a voter-initiated law, was put into effect on July 1st. The bill was approved on election day with the support of 70% of voters in the state.

Medical patients will gain an immunity of sorts, as described in the guidelines. In anticipation of state-issued IDs and licensed dispensaries this fall, the South Dakota Department of Health’s recently released instructions that say Highway Patrol, “will not, at the scene of a stop or interaction, arrest a South Dakota resident who is unable to present an unexpired medical cannabis card.” Of course, traveling with cannabis accessories, like glass bongs, is still illegal.

This, of course, comes with its own stipulations. Licensed medical marijuana patients will need to make sure they’re carrying no more than three ounces of natural and unmodified cannabis products, provide information “that the medical cannabis is to treat or alleviate a debilitating medical condition as defined by the Department of Health,” and provide the proper documentation, whether paper or electronic, relative to their condition from a licensed medical professional.

The new laws also provide protection for non-resident cardholders. They, too, will need to show a valid medical cannabis card issued from a separate state and similarly are allowed to carry up to 3 ounces of marijuana.

South Dakota’s medical marijuana program aims to help patients with “a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition” such as multiple sclerosis,  ALS, cancer, Crohn’s disease, AIDS/HIV, glaucoma, epilepsy,  or post-traumatic stress.

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