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Medical Marijuana Update

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #1206)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

South Dakota takes a regressive step, while Utah takes a progressive one.

South Dakota

South Dakota Bill Would Strip Some Protections from Medical Marijuana Businesses. A bill that would allow law enforcement to inspect, search, and seize materials at medical marijuana businesses, as well as prosecute them, Senate Bill 71, has already passed the Senate, won approval in the House Health and Human Services Committee Tuesday, and is set for a House floor vote as soon as Wednesday. [UPDATE: The bill passed the House on Thursday.]

Voters included protections for those businesses in the medical marijuana initiative they approved with 70 percent of the vote in 2020.


Utah Bill That Would Defund Cities That Refuse to Recognize Medical Marijuana Passes. After voters approved medical marijuana in 2018, the legislature mandated that it be treated like any other prescription drug, even though it is a federally controlled substance. But some localities have refused to do so, and now powerful lawmakers have filed Senate Bill 233, which would deny some state funding to those localities.

Backed by Senate Minority Leader Luz Escamilla (D-Salt Lake City) and Senate Majority Leader Evan Vickers (R-Cedar City), who are in charge of medical marijuana legislation in the Senate, the bill has already passed the upper chamber and is now before the House Rules Committee.

Escamilla said some cities in the state have refused to recognize that medical marijuana is legitimate and have questioned municipal workers about whether they have patient cards and punishing those that do.

"At the end of the day they are in violation of state law," Sen. Escamilla said. "It's very clear you don't get to force people to tell you they're using controlled substances as a prescription. This is a recommended, prescribed medication and they're treating them differently. That's what we're trying to prevent."

But now the bill is facing opposition from the Utah Eagle Forum, a social conservative group, which charges that it would allow patients to work while impaired.

Escamilla rejected that argument, noting that there are provisions to deal with on-the-job impairment.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

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