Marijuana grow facility

(The Center Square) - The South Dakota Legislative Rules Committee passed new rules Tuesday that adds regulations for testing medical cannabis.

The rules would also clarify tracking system requirements, and with the latest legislative changes, according to the Department of Health.

Several bills related to medical cannabis were signed into law in March. Senate Bill 19 permits some facilities to establish restrictions related to the use of medical marijuana. Senate Bill 26 revised the definition of practitioner for the purposes of the medical cannabis program.

Voters approved the use of medical cannabis in the November 2020 election. Since then, 126 practitioners have been approved as providers and 1,614 people have received patient cards, according to the program’s website.

There are no legal medical marijuana dispensaries from which these cardholders can obtain cannabis but a qualifying patient may cultivate cannabis themselves. A designated caregiver can also be authorized to cultivate cannabis on behalf of one patient.

Some of the rules presented Tuesday would have a direct impact on small businesses like medical cannabis dispensaries, cultivation facilities, manufacturing facilities and testing facilities, according to the Department of Health.

“The effect of the rules will be to add regulations on testing of medical cannabis, including creation of batches and collection of samples,” the department said.

Under the rules, cannabis testing facilities must update the inventory tracking system daily with all samples collected and the results of all tests performed.

“The rules and the burden placed on small businesses through the proposed rules are necessary due to legislation passed during the 2022 legislative session,” wrote the department.

Businesses also have “significant” recordkeeping requirements “due to the nature of the products and the public health and safety interests in regulating the industry,” according to the department.

“This is a market that is highly sensitive and subject to diversion onto the black market, therefore robust recordkeeping and tracking is important to maintain the public health and safety,” the department wrote.

The Department of Health estimates the product could be available by fall, according to a presentation made last week to the Medical Marijuana Oversight Committee.