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Ravnsborg Says Tribal Medical Marijuana Cards Legit Thursday, Changes Mind Friday

Killer Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg is also having trouble keeping his story straight on medical marijuana. On Thursday, Ravsnborg’s superfluous chief of staff Tim Bormann contradicted the Highway Patrol and the Governor and said the medical marijuana cards the Flandreau Santee Sioux tribe is issuing to its cannabis customers should keep non-tribal members and genuine Indigenous folks alike out of trouble:

Tim Bormann, chief of staff for Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, said the tribe’s ID cards are valid under state law because they are medically certified.

Bormann cited the law that states “a valid written certification issued within the previous year shall be deemed a registry identification card for a qualifying patient” [“AG: Tribal-Issued Medical Pot Cards Should be Honored,” AP, 2021.07.08].

On Friday, Ravnsborg changed his mind:

On the issue of law enforcement recognizing tribally issued cards for South Dakota residents who are not enrolled tribal members, the Highway Patrol Framework provides an approach that is consistent with IM 26’s requirements and recognizes the important issues of tribal and state sovereignty. That a tribe is a separate sovereign entitled to issue medical cannabis cards to tribal members is not disputed and is reflected in the Framework. However, the Framework also addresses a very important and separate issue – South Dakota’s jurisdiction over its residents who are not enrolled tribal members. Regardless of its decision concerning marijuana access within its own jurisdiction, a tribal government cannot dictate to a separate sovereign – the State of South Dakota – how the state’s laws apply to its own residents who are not enrolled members of a tribe when they are off reservation land and therefore wholly within the jurisdiction of the State of South Dakota.

A tribe’s medical cannabis card issued to a South Dakota resident who is not an enrolled tribal member is therefore not a substitute for the written doctor’s certification that a resident must produce under the Framework or in the future to receive a medical cannabis card from the Department of Health. In addition, for the written doctor’s certification to be valid, it must be received as part of a bona fide practitioner-patient relationship by a doctor licensed to practice medicine in the State of South Dakota [Attorney General’s Office, press release, quoted in Todd Epp, “AG Ravnsborg Changes His Position, Now Agrees that Non-Tribal Members Can’t Use a Tribal-Issued Medical Marijuana Card for Purchases,” KELO Radio, 2021.07.09].

SDCL 34-20G-40 says that any valid, written certification issued within the previous year counts as a registry identification card right now and unitl 25 days after the Department of Health quits dinking around and takes applications for state medical marijuana cards. Any does not exclude written certifications issued by those darned Indians.

The question is whether the written certifications issued by the Flandreau Santee Sioux get their medical certification from a licensed medical professional with a “bona fide practitioner-patient relationship” with the cardholder. SDCL 34-20G-1 gives three criteria for a “bona fide practitioner-patient relationship”:

  1. A practitioner and patient have a treatment or consulting relationship, during the course of which the practitioner has completed an assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition, including an appropriate in-person physical examination;
  2. The practitioner has consulted with the patient with respect to the patient’s debilitating medical condition; and
  3. The practitioner is available to or offers to provide follow-up care and treatment to the patient, including patient examinations.

The Flandreau Santee Sioux say every card they issue “originate[s] with a recommendation from a physician.” Those recommendations may come from doctors connected via telemedicine to the tribe’s customers. Governor Noem promoted and signed into law this year a bill (2021 SB 96) allowing practitioners to provide care online without first having a face-to-face meeting with patients; thus, the online doctor visits the tribe’s customers are using to obtain tribal medical marijuana cards would appear to be as legitimate as any other doctor’s recommendation.

It thus appears that Tim Bormann got the law right on Thursday, but that the phone rang shortly thereafter with a cranky Governor demanding that the A.G.’s office cook up some contorted legal reasoning to justify reversing that opinion. Or maybe Jason simply got out of his lengthy consultations with his defense attorney and his PR firm, asked Tim what happened while he was out, and went, “Oh my gosh! We can’t say people can have marijuana! Get back on the party line!”

12 Comments

  1. grudznick 2021-07-10

    Funny stuff. Sounds like the demon weed goon squads went over to Mr. Ravnsborg’s house and raided his garden.

  2. Dicta 2021-07-10

    Nothing says suicide by throwing yourself onto, *checks notes*, the shoulder of the road. Pretty shameless.

  3. Tim 2021-07-10

    The snow queen must have reminded him who is pulling the strings on his trial.

  4. John Dale 2021-07-10

    This machination is what I tried to warn everyone about. I even testified before the LRC. Remember that? I do .. it was an honor. Wish I could have stayed longer, but I had to get back to Spear for our lemonade stand.

    Our lemonade stand seems to be an institution these days .. it’s got vitamin C in it, so we have that going for us, which is nice.

    Here is what we should have done through the initiative process, or through the legislature, but MPP and their people are extremely bigoted in my opinion, they over-coded (crafted a Binky and the Brain level weapon in their own minds), attacked South Dakota, tried to wrap-up all the revenue, and now it’s a total isht-show: https://PlainsTribune.com/cc4l

    I might predict that, just before break-even, those invested so heavily in SD marijuana will get the rug pulled-out, and unfortunately it will be deserved in my humble opinion.

    Good day, sir.

  5. John 2021-07-10

    Any doubt that the AG’s office is staffed by political yes’ers?

    It’s sad how noem and her fascists go to the ends of the state resisting the voters’ will.

  6. bearcreekbat 2021-07-10

    It is not indicated exactly who made this comment,but it is simply an extremely stupid and racist comment:

    . . . a tribal government cannot dictate to a separate sovereign – the State of South Dakota – how the state’s laws apply to its own residents who are not enrolled members of a tribe when they are off reservation land . . . .

    I have seen no evidence that the tribe is trying to dictate or even request that the State of South Dakota do anything at all. Rather, the tribe is issuing medical marijuana certifcation forms to sick people. The tribe has not asked any state that I am aware of to honor those certifications, let alone made some feeble effort to “dictate” to the State of South Dakota how it should treat the sick people needing marijuana any more than the tribe has dictated to other states.

    A false statement like that seems calculated to appeal to the racist inclinations of South Dakotans. It is extremely disappointing that any official from a South Dakota agency, especially the Attorney General’s office, would be permitted to publicly attack a Native American tribe with an out and out lie like this.

  7. Mark Anderson 2021-07-10

    Come on folks, a quote from Rick Santorum, “no, no, no, we don’t want the peoples will to be done immediately”. What can anyone say?

  8. mike from iowa 2021-07-10

    BCB- According to the State, the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe’s medical marijuana program does not provide protections from arrest for non-tribal members. “A tribal government cannot dictate to a separate sovereign – the State of South Dakota – how the state’s laws apply to its own residents who are not enrolled members of a tribe when they are off reservation land and therefore wholly within the jurisdiction of the State of South Dakota,” said the Office of Attorney General in a statement.

    “The Tribe’s card itself may not be honored by the State, but the underlying physician recommendation is sufficient as a ‘temporary registry identification card’ in accordance with South Dakota law (SDCL § 34-20G-40),” said Pearman. The FFST’s medical marijuana program is independent of the state of South Dakota.

  9. mike from iowa 2021-07-10

    Seth Pearman, from second paragraph, is Flandreau tribe’s attorney.

  10. Bob Newland 2021-07-10

    I began lobbying the SoDak legislature in 1999 to produce laws more in line with reality as they pertained to possession and use of “marijuana” (“cannabis” to the civilized). While I found a few allies in the legislature, even they were not interested in educating themselves with facts with which they might persuade their opponent peers. The rest simply were intentionally ignorant.

    Almost none of the legislature seemed interested in the fact that their laws were devastating productive people. They wanted people to stop saying , “Oh, Wow.” That was their redline.

    I have seen this movie.

  11. grudznick 2021-07-11

    Mr. Dale, I know you like to be very precise, so it is my hope you can clarify. You said:

    I even testified before the LRC. Remember that? I do .. it was an honor. Wish I could have stayed longer, but I had to get back to Spear for our lemonade stand.

    Did you really testify before the LRC? The council of research for the legislatures usually does not hear testimony and if they did it would be meaningless as they are but the political grunt workers for the GOP leadership in the legislatures. They can’t vote.

    Could you perhaps be remembering testifying before a committee of the legislatures?

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