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Gov. Noem signs medical marijuana task force bills into law

Gov. Kristi Noem is signing dozens of bills that make changes to the state’s medical marijuana laws.

The lion’s share of those bills come from a marijuana task force which met last year to review the voter-approved laws.

The Marijuana Task Force introduced 23 bills related to medical marijuana this past session. Nineteen of them passed.

One of those bills caps the maximum number of plants medical marijuana patients can grow at 4—two that are flowering and two that are dormant.

State Senator Bryan Breitling, R-Miller, who chaired the marijuana task force last year says the group served its purpose.

“The governor’s intent from the beginning was she would honor the wishes of the voters to have the most safe and effective medical marijuana program," he says. "Certainly, from our standpoint, from the focus of the summer study all through session we tried to keep that in mind as much as possible.”

Some in the cannabis industry call the legislative session a mixed bag.

Kittrick Jeffries, president of Dakota Cannabis Consulting, says one good thing that came out of the session was a bill that expands who can prescribe medical marijuana.

“Most of these rural communities just have a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant available to them, that do all the work that—most of the work that a doctor does,” Jeffries says. “I think that’s great that it expands that access to those patients. One of the things that might have been a con would be eliminating the opportunity for a temporary medical marijuana card.”

Jeffries says without a temporary option, patients must wait for prescriptions while the state processes their application. That wait extends to out-of-state medical cannabis cardholders too.

With the governor’s signature, those laws will go into effect on July 1.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.