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Senate passes bill adding qualifying illnesses for medical marijuana card


The South Dakota Senate is advancing a bill that adds eight medical conditions that allows patients to qualify for a medical marijuana cards.

Those conditions are post-traumatic stress disorder, multiple sclerosis, cancer, glaucoma, Crohn's disease, lateral sclerosis, epilepsy and immune deficiencies.

Senator Erin Tobin, R-Winner, said these conditions are widely accepted across other states that have legal medical marijuana programs.

Tobin, who is a nurse practitioner, said the bill helps guide healthcare workers who have yet to get continuing medical education on medical marijuana.

“SB 1 really helps clear that up, because we’re really good at diagnosing people. I’m a nurse practitioner, too. Once we have a diagnosis, I think it will make it easier, then, to say, ‘yes, you need a medical marijuana card.’”

Tobin said a prevalence of medical marijuana card pop up clinics is in part because healthcare professionals are hesitant to prescribe marijuana.

The bill passed the Senate 20 to 15. It now heads to the House.

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.