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Governor Considering Support Of Medical Marijuana Bill


Governor Dennis Daugaard is considering supporting a bill that allows one type of medical marijuana. Earlier in the session, he said he would not support Senate Bill 171. The measure has since been amended to only allow one marijuana extract.

Governor Dennis Daugaard says his main opposition to the original bill was the possibility that medical marijuana in the plant form could be a gateway to recreational use. Senate Bill 171 was amended to allow only cannabidiol, a marijuana extract that doesn’t cause a high. The measure allows the compound in liquid, oil, or pill form to treat intractable epilepsy.

Daugaard says he sympathizes with people who have seizure disorders.

He says his daughter Laura had a number of grand maul seizures when she was younger.

“I can’t tell you how Linda and I were just deathly afraid for her,” Daugaard says. “And I’ve learned since then that it’s not uncommon as children reach adolescence, many of them will outgrow that. And happily, Laura did. But, it happened a number of times. And in each of those instances we were deathly afraid for her. And so if this is one more means by which those kinds of things can be avoided, I certainly want to support that.”
Daugaard says he still needs to learn more about cannabidiol before giving his full support. 

Proponents of Senate Bill 171 say cannabidiol can make a big difference for kids with seizures. Opponents say there needs to be more studies to make sure it’s safe and effective before making it legal.

The bill is scheduled for a House committee hearing next week.