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Lawmakers pass bill codifying medical marijuana conditions


The House passed a bill Monday clarifying qualifying conditions for medical cannabis cards in the state, including PTSD.

Senate Bill 1 also removed the Department of Health from dictating which disorders can be added to the state’s list of medical cannabis use.

Rep. Ernie Otten is the prime sponsor of the bill.

He said his opinion of medical marijuana changed when he received testimony from people with PTSD who have used medical cannabis. He said lawmakers who vote against SB 1 are only voting against it out of pride.

“So this issue is really just an issue of will. I will not pass medical marijuana. Just why? Because I just will not. I do not agree with it. Or, you start looking at it through a different prism, and you start to see these people as people who are just hurting,” said Otten.

Opponents pointed to a lack of evidence for treating PTSD with medical cannabis. Rep. Fred Deutsch said if the goal is compassion for the community, then the bill should not pass.

“So, I am going to encourage you, based on the evidence, I will tell you, it is compassionate, it's compassionate to vote on the evidence. To do otherwise is not. So, I’m gonna ask you to please turn this down, thank you,” said Deutsch.

The bill passed on a 36 to 32 vote. It next heads to the governor’s desk for a signature.

Evan Walton is an SDPB reporter based in Sioux Falls. Evan holds a Master’s in English Literature from Southern New Hampshire University and was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 2015, where he served for five years as an infantryman.