South Dakota lawmakers work on the bill to clarify medical marijuana

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State legislators are refining what classifies conditions that meet medical marijuana guidelines

The various medical cannabis programs in the states where this market has become legal usually have several specific eligible medical conditions. While post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is commonly seen on many of these lists, South Dakota had left it out of the equation. Lawmakers looked at that and have deemed that the mental condition should also be included on the list of ailments for which medical providers could prescribe medical marijuana, especially since the plant has been found to be very beneficial for these types of conditions.

A meeting of the House Health and Human Services Committee was held last Tuesday. Members of the panel approved Senate Bill 1 by a vote of eight to five, a result that took more than an hour and a half after several debates and testimonies.

The measure would additionally remove the state Department of Health from making decisions on what disorders medical marijuana can be used for. Adding or subtracting diagnoses for the use of this plant would now be in the hands of the legislature in case the proposal is approved.

Much of Tuesday’s debate focused on PTSD. Some of the testimony came from two veterans who served in recent wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan, who say their lives were saved thanks to the use of medical cannabis. “I spent five years looking for antidepressants,” said Clint Wood, an Air Force veteran from Vermillion. “They’re hard to get off. The day I combined cannabis with therapy, I started making breakthroughs I couldn’t believe.”