South Dakota is slowly rolling out its newly enacted medical marijuana program (effective July 1, 2021) and it has encountered a significant speed bump. The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe opened the state’s first marijuana dispensary on its tribal land and began issuing medical marijuana cards. Yet South Dakota’s Governor Kristi Noem, with the support of the South Dakota Highway Patrol, instructed law enforcement not to honor medical marijuana cards issued by the tribe to non-tribal members, and to arrest non-tribal members in possession of marijuana, regardless of their medical status. South Dakota’s Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg originally disagreed with the Governor’s instructions. Per his Chief of Staff on July 7, 2021, General Ravnsborg determined that, in accordance with state law, the tribal medical marijuana cards are valid because they are medically certified.  See SDCL 34-20G-1-4. As a result, General Ravnsborg stated law enforcement should honor tribally issued medical marijuana cards even for non-tribal members. Forty-eight hours later, however, General Ravnsborg changed his tune and released a statement that “the Attorney General’s Office agrees with the South Dakota Highway Patrol’s framework for implementation of [the medical marijuana statute]”.

Cannabis Business Executive – Cannabis and Marijuana industry news, 07/14/2021 16:17:00

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