South Dakota fails to ban medical cannabis in schools and public parks

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A South Dakota bill that would have restricted the use of cannabis for medical purposes in preschools, public and non-public educational facilities, and all outdoor public recreation areas failed to pass the Senate of the state in a 20-12 vote, KELO reports. The measure would also have eliminated the power of the state Department of Education to set guidelines for the use of medical cannabis in schools and would have allowed individual schools to ban its use altogether.

Republican Senator David Wheeler said the Department of Education had already spent considerable time crafting rules on medical cannabis in schools and the measure would have thrown it all away.

“…And then we’re going to treat medical marijuana differently than any other drug because now schools can just say ‘no, we’re not going to allow you to use that’.” – Wheeler via KELO

Republican Senator Jim Stalzer said the state’s Medical Cannabis Act, which was approved by voters in 2020, requires schools to permit the use of medical cannabis, and the proposal gives public and private schools whether or not to opt out of these rules.

South Dakota lawmakers are considering changes to the state’s medical cannabis law, which has been approved by 70% of voters in the state. Last month, senators voted 25 to 10 to remove the affirmative defense provisions from the law.

Affirmative defense provisions allow patients caught by police in possession of cannabis products to evade charges by demonstrating a medical need for cannabis, even if they do not yet have their medical card.

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