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South Dakota Legalizes Medical Marijuana

South Dakota Legalizes Medical Marijuana

Will South Dakota OK pot again after 1st measure reversed?

Published: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 8:56 p.m.

Last Modified: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 8:56 p.m.

SOUTH DAKOTA — The law passed and signed by Gov. John Hoeven Wednesday allows South Dakota to issue tax stamps to a grower in possession to produce up to five pounds of medical marijuana.

In 2010, voters turned down an amendment to the ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana. Supporters won’t need the tax stamp to make medical marijuana available to patients who’ve been approved by a physician, but they’ll pay the tax in order to be able to sell their medicine.

“This is a very important step forward for the South Dakota medical marijuana program that provides for the use of marijuana to qualify a patient for a regulated medical marijuana card,” said State Sen. Jim Steed, R-Clark.

The amendment was opposed by police unions, some lawmakers and the medical marijuana program’s largest proponent, the state’s Medical Cannabis Group.

Hoeven said he supported the measure by a margin slightly smaller than the difference between a veto-proof margin of 52 percent to 47.

It’s been about a month since the Legislature approved a bill legalizing medical marijuana for South Dakota’s 12,000 registered patients.

Gov. Hoeven is expected to sign the bill Tuesday.

“The governor’s already been making his support for this issue clear over the last couple of days,” said Gov. Hoeven spokesman Dan Knodell. “He’s made it abundantly clear that he’s in full support of medical marijuana and he still supports this bill.”

The measure will allow South Dakota’s three nonprofit medical marijuana organizations to form the South Dakota Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Program. The first patients would get the drug on Wednesday.

Supporters were elated by the news Wednesday morning.

“It’s a win-win,” said state Rep. Ben Schyman, R-Ft. Kearny, who voted yes for the law.

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