The Legislature’s Executive Board implemented Senate Bill 134 last week, overhauling the membership of the Medical Marijuana Oversight Committee. Previously state law specified the following membership to this panel:
- one member of the House of Representatives;
- one member of the Senate;
- one Division of Criminal Investigation agent;
- one staff member from the Office of the Attorney General;
- two representatives of law enforcement;
- one representative from the Department of Health;
- one practitioner with experience in medical cannabis issues;
- one nurse;
- one board member or principal officer of a cannabis testing facility;
- one person with experience in policy development or implementation in the field of medical cannabis;
- three qualifying patients.
SB 134 changed that make-up:
- two members of the Senate;
- two members of the House of Representatives;
- one physician;
- one physician assistant;
- one certified nurse practitioner;
- one chief of police for a municipality having a population in excess of fifty-thousand, or a representative of the police department designated by the chief;
- one sheriff of a county or a representative of the sheriff’s office designated by the sheriff;
- one professional counselor or one addiction counselor;
- one qualifying patient.
The most notable negative change may be bumping two patients to make room to double the number of legislators on the panel. The most notable positive change may be bumping two bureaucrats (staff from AG and DOH) to make room to double the health professionals advising on medical marijuana policy.
Last year’s medical overseers included three legislators: Rep. Ernie Otten (R-6/Tea), Rep. Taylor Rehfeldt (R-14/Sioux Falls), and Sen. Erin Tobin (R-21/Winner). Rehfeldt qualified by dint of nursing. The non-legislators serving were former DOH chief Joan Adam; Cam Corey from the AG’s office; Brian Zeeb from DCI, doctor Christopher Dietrich; patients Brian Doherty, Elizabeth Tiger, and Melissa Mentele; pharmacist Eric Grocott, Mobridge Police Chief Shawn Madison, Pierre Police Captain Bryan Walz, and cannabis testing facility manager Shon Van Hulzen.
The E-Board last week kept Tobin and Tiger but replaced everyone else with these picks:
- Rep. Roger DeGroot (R-7/Brookings);
- Rep. Curt Massie (R-33/Rapid City);
- Sen. Jim Mehlhaff (R-24/Pierre);
- Pennington County Sheriff Brian Mueller;
- Sioux Falls Police Chief Jon Thum;
- physician Francine Arnold of Sioux Falls;
- physician’s assistant Katie Kassin of Vermillion;
- certified nurse practitioner Rachel Waddell of Rapid City;
- counselor Megan Palmer of Sioux Falls.
The new appointments take effect July 1.