Fewer Than 450 Patients Certified in South Dakota Medical Cannabis Program

Fewer Than 450 Patients Certified in South Dakota Medical Cannabis Program
High Times

The fledgling medical cannabis program in South Dakota continues to build at a slow pace, with a local news report this week saying that only a little more than 400 patients have been certified since registration began at the end of last year. That comes via the Argus Leader newspaper of Sioux Falls, which reported that, as of Tuesday, “the Department of Health had issued just 419 medical marijuana cards to patients.” According to the newspaper, that has prompted MyMarijuanaCards.com, a nationally recognized telehealth company, to host the “the state’s first-ever, three-day mass patient screening event Tuesday in downtown Sioux Falls,” South Dakota’s largest city. The event runs through Thursday. “Despite being available since November, only a few South Dakota residents have been able to obtain a state-issued medical cannabis card due to the limited number of doctors authorized to certify patients in the state,” MyMarijuanaCards.com founder Molefi Branson told the Argus Leader. It isn’t just patients who have been slow to enroll. Last month, local television station KELO reported that “only 90 South Dakota doctors have been approved to validate the use of medical marijuana to their patients,” which accounts for “just 4.07% of the state’s 2,214 total active physicians.” Branson said there are aspects of South Dakota’s medical cannabis registration process that may be causing the patient enrollee numbers to lag. The Argus Leader reported that “Branson said South Dakota’s medical marijuana law requires South Dakotans receive certification from a medical professional licensed to practice medicine before they can be considered for a card through the [state Department of Health],” and that the state’s “law also requires screenings be in person, not over the telephone or via video conference, as allowed in several other states.” The newspaper also noted a reluctance “among the healthcare systems in South Dakota…

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