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Medical Marijuana Discussion Continues In Pierre


Members of a South Dakota House committee heard testimony on a bill allowing one form of medical marijuana. Senate Bill 171 allows the extract cannabidiol or CBD.


Senate Bill 171 allows for CBD in liquid, oil, or pill form to treat intractable epilepsy. Proponents say although it’s a marijuana extract, its THC content is too low to produce a high. George Hendrickson has a child with a disorder that causes seizures. He says allowing CBD in South Dakota could make a big difference for his family.
“The load off of the parents, being able to supply their child some sort of relief,” Hendrickson says. “Oh I can’t even explain to you what that does for a parent who gets to only sleep a couple of hours a night because they watch their child seizing multiple times through the night, then gets up and spends four hours every morning making their food while they list out 13 to 14 different medicines they’re going to give that child every two hours through the course of the day. If we can reduce that burden on the child, and reduce that burden on the parent, then we’ve done something.”
Opponents say it’s not safe to allow a drug not approved by the FDA.
Attorney General Marty Jackley sees multiple problems with the bill.
“There needs to be that level of FDA approval. Again, whether it be in the experimental phase or for other use,” Jackley says. “I talked a little bit about palatable with federal law. I mean when you look at SB171 in its present form, talking about immunity and these other protections under South Dakota law, that doesn’t apply to federal law. I will tell you as a former United States Attorney that you would be setting up a parent or a South Dakota physician for federal prosecution.”
Members of the House Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony on the bill but did not make a decision. The committee takes up the issue again on Thursday.