The calendar says we are less than a week away from the official implementation of South Dakota's medical marijuana law and with that in mind the State Department of Health has released the proposed list of administrative rules for the medical cannabis program.

The document is divided into 13 sections over 105 pages and covers a number of different aspects of the program.

The proposed rules cover issues regarding cardholders and caregivers, dispensaries, cultivation, testing facilities, law enforcement, and advertising.

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As expected, prospective cardholders will be required to have the proper documentation from their medical practitioner certifying they have a qualifying debilitating condition that will benefit from medical cannabis as a treatment.

There will be a $100 non-refundable application fee, with a reduced-fee $20 card available for low-income patients. The card is valid for one year, with renewals available up to 45 days prior to expiration.

A physician's recommendation would also be required for patients to grow their own cannabis, which will be limited to three plants per year.

Patients can also designate an individual to act as a caregiver. Perspective caregivers would be required to submit to a background investigation by the Division of Criminal Investigation every two years.

In terms of possession, the state has laid out very specific amounts based on how the cannabis is consumed:

  • Concentrated cannabis — 8,000 mg
  • Vaporizer pens or cartridges — 8,000 mg
  • Edibles (including tinctures, oils, or beverages tested by a certified testing facility) — 80 servings providing 10 mg of THC
  • Tinctures, oils, or beverages (untested) — 30 milliliters/1 fluid ounce
  • Topical (ointment or cream) — 12 fluid ounces
  • Transdermal patches (tested) — 80 doses of 10 mg THC
  • Transdermal patches (untested) — 12 patches
  • Edible products cannot contain more than 10 mg of THC per serving, and a package of edibles cannot contain more than 100 mg total of THC

All cannabis products must be packaged in child-resistant, tamper-evident, resealable (unless the product is single-serving), opaque containers. Product labels will include testing results of the products and the length of time it will take for a patient to feel effects, the length of time of those effects, and for edibles, a warning that the effects may be delayed up to four hours.

Businesses supplying cannabis to patients must submit applications to the state and pay a $5,000 fee. They must also maintain extensive records of all daily operations, which must be kept for 18 months.

Establishments are also limited on the amount and types of advertising they can do.

Signs, billboards, direct mail, phone, text, email, TV, radio ads to non-cardholders are prohibited, as well as advertising through a practitioner or health care facility.

Targeted ads on social media are allowed if they include verification the recipient is a cardholder and over the age of 21.

The state has until October 29 to begin the formal rules approval process. Governor Kristi Noem has announced previously that medical marijuana cards would not be distributed until at least November 1.

The Department of Health is also welcoming public input on the proposed rules by hosting a pair of medical cannabis telephone town halls, Monday, June 28, at 7:00 PM and 8:30 PM Central time.

The new medical marijuana law is a result of the passage of Initiated Measure 26 by nearly 70 percent of South Dakota voters in November of 2020.

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