For years, South Dakota has been known to maintain some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country. Then, on November 3, 2020, South Dakota made history by becoming the first state to legalize both medical and recreational cannabis on the same ballot during the presidential election. In the end, Measure 26, also known as the Medical Marijuana Initiative, was approved by 70% of the vote, while 54% voted in favor of Constitutional Amendment A, which supported legalizing, regulating, and taxing recreational cannabis for adults 21 and older.
While recreational cannabis will be legal at the same time as medical cannabis, you’ll have to be over 21 years of age to purchase recreational cannabis, and you’ll only be allowed to carry up to 1 oz of marijuana. If you need MMJ for a medical purpose, you may need a larger supply. Applying to the medical marijuana program will allow you to carry up to three times as much cannabis, and patients between 18 and 21 are also eligible to apply.
If you’re interested in medical marijuana to treat a medical condition, then you’ve likely been waiting for this moment for a long time. You might be excited to sign up for a medical marijuana (MMJ) card right away, but your wait isn’t quite over yet. South Dakota’s medical marijuana program isn’t expected to go live until July 1, 2021.
As of right now, the program isn’t live and the process of applying for a medical marijuana card in South Dakota isn’t set. However, we’ve detailed what you should likely expect from the process.
Quick Guide to South Dakota Medical Marijuana
There will likely be three basic steps to getting a medical marijuana card in South Dakota.
- Determine Your Eligibility: While the specific qualifying conditions are unclear as of yet, we do know you’ll need to be diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition to qualify for the new MMJ program.
- Get a Certification from a Physician: You’ll also be required to meet with a physician in the state for an evaluation and certification.
- Register with the government: The final steps aren’t clear, but you’ll need to register with the government to get your card.
How to Get a South Dakota Medical Marijuana Card in Three Steps
1. Determine Your Eligibility
To apply to the South Dakota Medical Marijuana program, you’ll need to be at least 18 years of age and be a resident of the state with a valid ID and proof of residency.
Further, while the state department hasn’t yet established a list of qualifying conditions for the program, the bill states that patients with a chronic or debilitating medical condition or its treatment that produces the following symptoms will be eligible:
- Severe, debilitating pain
- Severe nausea
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including that characteristic of multiple sclerosis (MS)
Details will get clearer as we get closer to the MMJ program start date, and the bill states that other medical conditions and their treatments may be added by the department in the future. What’s more, residents will be allowed to petition to allow additional conditions to be added to the list.
2. Get a South Dakota Medical Marijuana Certification
Once the program is officially underway and you can apply for your MMJ card, you’ll be required to get a written certification issued by a practitioner within 90 days preceding the date of your application. The evaluation and certification will need to be provided by a health practitioner with whom you have a bona fide relationship and who has consulted with you regarding your debilitating medical condition.
The final steps of the application process are still unclear at this time, but you will be expected to apply for your South Dakota Medical Marijuana card with the state department. Your application will need to include a signed physician certification, your application fee (cost to be determined), basic personal information, and the name of two qualifying designated dispensaries. Expect to provide proof of ID and residency as well.
Your application should be reviewed and verified within 15 days. Once approved, you’ll receive your card, which will allow you to legally purchase up to 3 oz of medical marijuana.