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In 2020, South Dakota voters supported making medical cannabis legal for people with debilitating health conditions. Since then, the state has established a medical cannabis program that works to make marijuana products safe, effective, and accessible for residents who have a qualifying health condition and a medical marijuana card.
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Benefits of Having a Medical Card in South Dakota
The use and sale of recreational marijuana is illegal in South Dakota. That means the only way to access cannabis legally is with a medical marijuana card. Other than legal protection, here are the benefits of a medical card in South Dakota.
Access to Quality Medical Cannabis
Adult-use or recreational marijuana use is currently illegal in South Dakota. That means if you don’t have a medical cannabis card, you’re not allowed to use or possess any amount.
However, you can purchase products from any state’s medical dispensaries with a medical card. You’re also allowed to buy up to 3 ounces of cannabis flower, or an equal amount of weed concentrates, vapes, and edibles every two weeks.
May Help You Save Money
There’s a possibility that recreational cannabis will be legalized in South Dakota if the world’s changing attitudes are anything to go by.
If that happens, the adult-use marijuana program will likely come with steep taxes. This has been the case in many recreational states and impacts cannabis prices significantly. Medical cannabis products are usually subject to significantly lower taxes, which could save you money in the long run.
You Can Grow Your Own Cannabis
In states like South Dakota, which only have a few weed dispensaries, the ability to grow your own plants is one patients don’t take for granted. The state currently allows those with a medical card to grow up to four plants at home, with only two mature plants at a time.
Even if recreational use is legalized in the future, expect to see limits on people cultivating; if you qualify for a medical marijuana card, you can easily sidestep some of these limitations.
These are some of the conditions you must meet to qualify to join the South Dakota medical cannabis program:
- Must be 18 and a legal resident of South Dakota
- Be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition
- Get an official written and signed certification from a physician
Can Minors Get a Medical Card in South Dakota?
Minors can get a medical marijuana card with the help of a parent or legal guardian. Caregivers are responsible for applying on a minor’s behalf, plus purchasing and administering cannabis products for them.
Cannabis is becoming widely accepted as a medicine that helps manage the symptoms of various illnesses. You may qualify for a South Dakota medical marijuana card if you have any of the following conditions:
- Cachexia (wasting syndrome)
- Chronic pain
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Nausea and vomiting
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms
How to Apply
Here are a few things you will need when applying for a medical marijuana card in South Dakota.
Documents You’ll Need
- Valid identification with your photo, name, and other details (a driver’s license, U.S. passport, student ID, or tribal identification card will do)
- A passport photo that clearly shows the applicant’s face
- Proof of South Dakota residency (utility bills, bank statements, or any other document that shows your name and current address)
- A signed certificate from a licensed physician
- Proof of financial aid or low-income status if you’re seeking a reduced application fee
Steps to Apply
- See a qualifying physician. Successfully applying for a medical card in South Dakota will require a medical evaluation with a state-licensed physician. They must evaluate all applicants and determine whether they can join the state medical cannabis program.
- Log into your patient account. Once your medical assessment is complete, you will receive an email notifying you of your new patient account. You’ll need to log into your profile with the temporary password and activate your account before completing the online application.
- Complete the application process. On the state application, provide all relevant details and documents related to your medical condition and reason for seeking a card. If you wish to cultivate plants at home, include that in your application. If applicable, you must also list caregiver contact information during the registration stage. Minors must provide proof of a parent or legal guardian’s consent.
- Pay the application fee and get your medical card. After filling out all the forms, the last step is paying the online application fee. If your application is approved, your new medical marijuana card will arrive in the mail in the coming weeks.
Here are the costs that come with getting a medical marijuana card in South Dakota:
- An annual registration fee of $75 (applicants with low-income status can pay a reduced sum of $20).
- An extra $20 for applicants who wish to grow cannabis at home.
- There is an additional $20 for every caregiver – if more than one is designated.
- Out-of-state patients must submit an upfront $75 fee along with their application.
Medical Marijuana Reciprocity
South Dakota doesn’t have medical marijuana reciprocity, which means out-of-state medical cards aren’t accepted. On the flip side, other states (check before you visit) will allow you to purchase cannabis products if you have a South Dakota card.
The benefit of medical marijuana reciprocity is that it ensures you can still access medicine, even if you’re away from home or visiting a state that doesn’t have an adult-use market.
Applying as a Caregiver
Anyone who meets the state and medical qualifications can designate a caregiver to help them buy and administer medical cannabis. A parent or caregiver must be at least 21 years old and have no prior felony convictions.
The South Dakota Department of Health doesn’t assign caregivers on behalf of applicants. Patients will notify the DOH of their designated caregiver through their physician. Parents or legal guardians are default caregivers for all minor patients under age 18.
Each caregiver can have up to five patients. If patients live in a residential care facility, designated caregivers may qualify for more than five people.
Where to Buy Medical Marijuana
The move to establish a medical marijuana program and legalize its recreational use is pretty new. As a result, there aren’t that many cannabis dispensaries in South Dakota.
That said, it’s easy for people with medical cards to buy products if they live in Sioux Falls or Rapid City. Dispensaries like Rapid Referrals, Greenlight, and Dr. RX are a few examples of where patients can safely access high-quality cannabis.
The South Dakota medical cannabis program is also dedicated to registering more dispensaries in the future to ensure that patients have more market options to choose from.
Patients enrolled in the South Dakota medical marijuana program can grow their crops. The law allows patients to cultivate up to three cannabis plants – provided they indicated the desire to grow at home when applying for the card. People may also receive permission to grow more if they request it.
An evaluating physician must consent to you growing cannabis at home before you can receive DOH approval. Cultivation sites must be enclosed and locked at all times. Applicants must also provide photos of the space they plan to use in their application.
If your application for cultivation is approved, you’ll receive two registry ID cards. You must keep one card with you, and the other should be visible on the door of your growing space.
South Dakota Medical Marijuana Laws to Know
Here are some of the laws you should know if you use medical marijuana in South Dakota:
- You may possess up to three ounces of cannabis flower or its equivalent of concentrates, edibles, vapes, and other products.
- You can grow three or more cannabis plants at home if your application is approved.
- Individuals without a medical marijuana card are prohibited from using, possessing, purchasing, or transporting any amount of product.
- All grounds for cultivating cannabis must be enclosed and kept under lock and key. Anyone whose cultivation facility is accessible by minors is liable to punishment by law.
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