Press "Enter" to skip to content

Legislature Revamps Medical Marijuana Committee: More Legislators, Fewer Patients

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.


  1. larry kurtz 2023-05-23 08:01

    Oh well.

    On Saturday Minnesota’s DFL-dominated legislature passed a bill sending the measure to Governor Tim Walz to sign into law. The mechanism for dispensaries is at least a year away but the possession of two pounds at home, provisions for home growing and two ounces on ones person are parts of the statute. Soon towns like Pipestone, Luverne, Worthington, Lake Benton, Ortonville and Hendricks near the South Dakota border will reap the coming cannabis whirlwind.

  2. Nix 2023-05-23 08:37

    I find it absolutely fascinating that over the years, South Dakota kicked and screamed about the
    Grand Falls Casino in Larchwood , Ia would suck
    South Dakota dollars and leave the state with thousands of gambling addicts.
    Asleep at the wheel, South Dakota looses. We should have built our own casino.
    And now, as I laugh my ass off , we will have legal recreational cannabis 20 miles away from
    300,000 South Dakotans.
    I wonder what Jim Kinyon, Fred Deutsch, Mike Milstead, Paul Tenhaken all think about the fact that all of the effort and money that was spent on
    the Bulls*it “Protect South Dakota Kids” was wasted.
    So, while Milstead May talk tough and act like the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s dept will have any effect on Minnesota Cannabis finding its way into
    South Dakota, the hilarious part is that it’s been here for decades.
    Lock ‘em up Mike is not happy.
    I think I’ll fire one up …….

  3. Donald Pay 2023-05-23 08:43

    I had to chuckle about this. It’s sooooo South Dakota. You have a bunch of people lined up to get per diems, and they will do very little to earn that money. Rather than implement the law, they will talk about implementing the law.

  4. P. Aitch 2023-05-23 10:33

    This post is about not believing people in South Dakota who believe they can predict the future. SD is contrary with a high level of “negativity bias” to begin with and doomsday, the sky will fall and the sun stop shining predictions about what would happen when CO became the first pioneer state to legalize recreational cannabis all proved to be just “hooey”. Calm down, Connie!!
    – “Colorado’s cannabis industry has fallen on hard times. What does the future hold?” – DenverPost ~ two days ago

  5. Mark Anderson 2023-05-23 12:04

    Well I haven’t done Marahoochi in decades so I would make the great patient. In and out of state experience. Where can I sign on?

  6. Mark Anderson 2023-05-23 12:17

    The medical mary jane could just turn me from being an anxious Democrat into a relaxed Republican, I promise you, cross my lefty heart. Meditate on that.

  7. larry kurtz 2023-05-23 12:31

    Good morning, Jenny. Do you believe South Dakota could create a DFL Party?

  8. Arlo Blundt 2023-05-23 13:26

    I know a number of retirees who would probably benefit from smoking medical pot. They are anxious and paranoid now…see a threat of crime everywhere and worry incessantly. Their blood pressure is through the roof and they believe their doctor is engaged with a drug company to steal their money. It’s a problem for their wives and family. They drink too much booze which only makes their distracted driving worse. If they bought a decent recliner, a decent stereo, and started on this weed, I think they might get some enjoyment out of their sunset years.

  9. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-05-23 15:08

    It does not matter IF Minnesota or Nebraska or Iowa, or any of the S.D Native Tribes legalize Marijuana or not. South Dakota Citizens CANNOT go to those territories (foreign places) outside the jurisdictional subdivision of the the State of South Dakota. “WE” have banned all uses of Recreational Marijuana in our political subdivision, let alone, “WE” have restricted Medical Use in our borders to a specific # of S.D Citizens of which have applied for, requested, and been granted a privileged of using Marijuana for Medical Purposes.

    If you are a S.D Citizen under S.D.C.L 1-1-1, and reside in any of the 66 Counties, and of which you are a part of one of the “incorporated cities” of those Counties, under South Dakota Codified Law – your “legal status” is held by the State, and that means, you must abide by all South Dakota Statutes governing the strict use of Medical Marijuana.

    The “Voters” voted in 2022 to keep Recreational Marijuana banned, by voting nearly 60% against legalizing it, while the voters have said, and the entire population consented to, allowing a very strict use of Marijuana for “Medical Use”.

    The way the law works, is if you go to any of the TRIBAL NATIONS in South Dakota, or venture out to Minnesota, Colorado, Nebraska, or Iowa, or whatever other State may allow their citizens to buy and sell Marijuana to buy marijuana yourself – if you get caught, you will be cited, held in contempt of the law, fined, penalized, sanctioned under the full extend of the law itself.

    While our law protects Minnesota or Colorado, or the Tribal Nation Citizens – they are subject to the laws of their “State” or “Territory” and the S.D Law upholds their laws where those Non-Citizens or non-residents have a “Certificate” or “permit” to do so under the laws of their “territories’.

    A S.D Citizen living in Sioux Falls, cannot travel up I-29 to buy Marijuana in Flandreau and bring the drug back to Sioux Falls. IF the Highway Patrol pulls you over, and sees the drug in your possession, unless you have a S.D Medical Card, you will be cited and fined, and the drug will be taken from you.

  10. Eve Fisher 2023-05-23 15:41

    As a 70 year old grandmother with severe and in some cases inoperable arthritis – willing to show the x-rays to all who ask – all I want is THC gummies before bedtime so that I can relax and sleep. Our SD legislature has decided that I should suck eggs. I think that’s what they do.

  11. Arlo Blundt 2023-05-23 15:42

    Mr. seem to just want to spread more unreasonable fear and suspicion among South Dakota Seniors who have worked and contributed all their lives and deserve some pleasure in their declining years. Why don’t you just let up on us, for once. We’ve given you our best effort and I think we’ve done a good job building this country up. Now, all you can think of, is to put Grandma and Grandpa in jail. Shame on you.

  12. All Mammal 2023-05-23 15:54

    Why does telling grown-ass, tax-paying, community-contributing, own business-minding, hard-working, family-rearing South Dakotans what they are allowed and not allowed to do privately, make snarky republicans so giddy? Buhhhh, gives me the willies.

  13. larry kurtz 2023-05-23 15:56

    Mr. Z is grud on Red Bull.

  14. Jenny 2023-05-23 16:00

    I think Mike Z really needs to get stoked.
    Responsible South Dakotans have every right to come to MN and buy some weed once the dispensaries are up and running, just no smoking or gummying it while driving. While they here, I would also recommend they buy some tax free groceries and save 4.5%
    (If you are a minority, unfortunately I wouldn’t trust the SD highway patrol. Drive very carefully and report any corruption if picked up, and record it on your cell phone.)

  15. M 2023-05-23 16:01

    I think Mr. Z needs to smoke a doobie and chill.

  16. Donald Pay 2023-05-23 17:22

    Mike Z., Ya, but they banned booze during Prohibition, and just about every city or town had bootlegging going on. My grandfather told me about the booze that flowed in Sioux Falls and Liz’s mother was a five-year-old moonshine pusher in Nashua, New Hampshire, back then. Coming up to today, you can get pot anywhere in any state in the nation, whether that state has legalized it or not. I don’t imbibe. Never have. I actually prefer the drug dealers to the corporate honchos. Just decriminalize pot for adutls and let the free market work.

  17. grudznick 2023-05-23 17:24

    grudznick thinks Mr. Zitterich probably quaffs a few doobies every day, however still needs to remind young Mr. Z that my legal status is not held by the state. grudznick is, yes indeed, a Sovereign Citizen, but I’m still not quaffing or toking or chewing any of the demon weed. No siree. No demon weed for me.

  18. Arlo Blundt 2023-05-23 18:54

    Mr. Zitterich advocates for the arrest and imprisonment of elderly folks, people with Multiple sclerosis, Arthritis, and the plagues of old age. He professes that this police state is freedom. It is a government of terrorists. Grudznick is dazed and confused by his own self serving Schizophrenia.

  19. JO 2023-05-23 20:12

    I can relate to your need for marijuana gummies
    Eve Fisher and am angered that you aren’t on the limited list of who qualifies for it’s use. I am a 68 year old grandmother diagnosed with MS in 1994 advancing to PPMS and cannot maintain what independence remains until I eat a gummy almost every midday. I don’t get “high” it just increases my energy. SD legislators are ignorant in more ways than one.

  20. P. Aitch 2023-05-23 21:11

    Your Governor is a stubborn donkey about legal analgesics for commoners but has no such label for her. own really expensive weight loss monthly injections.
    – An Eli Lilly drug if approved for weight loss could become the best-selling drug of all time, but concerns are mounting about who will actually be able to afford it.
    – Experts are confident that the drug, called tirzepatide, will be granted approval by the Food and Drug Administration sometime this year. If that’s the case, it would join two other popular — and expensive — recently approved weight loss drugs on the market, Wegovy and Saxenda, both from the drugmaker Novo Nordisk.

  21. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-05-24 09:36

    You are all mad at me for expressing he sentiments of the portion of our population that live in 38 of the 66 counties. I am perfectly fine with you attacking me, cause it shows your arrogance, and that you are all NOT fully capable of debate, let alone you have no respect for those who think differently than you. I could care less if ‘we’ legalize marijuana or not. However, the majority of the State does not want recreational marijuana, and I think the facts speak for themselves.

    YOUR own Medical Support Industry wrote I.M-26 which became SDCL 34-20G – in your own law, it restricts S.D CITIZENS from heading over the border to buy marijuana of which do NOT have, nor been granted permission by our own Department of Health.

    SDCL 34-20G is clear – a Sioux Falls Resident cannot go up to the Santa Sioux Tribal Nation to buy Marijuana, nor obtain a Tribal Medical Card, the card would not be considered legal, nor lawful when you leave the Tribal Territory, and IF, you get pulled over by a Highway Patroll, or Sioux Falls Cop – they are lawfully bound to S.D Statutes and Sioux Falls Ordinances, would be ordered to cite you a ticket, strip you of the “Marijuana” and hold you in contempt of the law itself. That is NOT me saying this, it is the very LAW you people drafted, wrote, and got passed.

    Look at the total VOTE in MEADE COUNTY in 2020 and 2021 – Meade County was one of the 12 counties I mentioned that was merely 50-50 split down the middle on Amendment A, it was also a county where the voters overwhelmingly approved of Medical Marijuana. However, when the “voters” had a chance to vote in 2021 to loosen up the rules on the county’s medical marijuana planning, zoning, and regulations – ony 2,100 voters showed up, and more importantly, 1400 to 700 of the voters voted to ACCEPT the counties planning and zoning regulations agreeing to keep it tightly restricted.

    On top of that, your Marijuana Faithful came back in 2022 and placed Recreational Marijuana on the ballot ALL BY ITSELF – no confusion, no gaming, just straight up Yes or No…nearly 60% of the 386,000 voters said NO to approving of Recreational Marijuana. I had predicted that result, knowing where the “Votes” derived from two years earlier…

    Like I said, if the PEOPLE OF SOUTH DAKOTA truly support Marijuana, that result would have showed up in the countywide vote, let alone the Precinct wide vote, it did NOT.

    The Voters had voted 6 times (twice in one year, 2020) on legalizing Marijuana, all 6 times they simply said NO. The votes to approve of Recreational Marijuana have never been close once. The one time it was close, YOU PEOPLE tried to confuse the voters (2020) placing both in a constitutional amendment, knowing that perhaps you could win on Medical Use, which would slightly, and in a manipulating manner, gain a win on Recreational Use. It nearly worked, except, you did not expect the backlash in a few of the counties, prior to July 1st of 2021, the PEOPLE have the right to NOT CONSENT to be governed as such…We were able to convince the Supreme Court to align with our opinion, assessment, and beliefs.

    Be mad at me all you want, smoke marijuana all you want, just stay off the roads or in public places where you can get caught, cause the people have determiend, that in public, recreational use is to be banned out in public. Stay in your basement, until you are able to gain enough votes to win.

  22. larry kurtz 2023-05-24 09:42

    Thank you, Doctor Freedom.

  23. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-05-24 09:45

    For all you mad at me, I had proposed a much more easier, simpler way to convince people vote on Marijuana…I had proposed rather than a complex and manipulating new Article of the constitution, or some massively confusing law, I proposed adding a BILL OF RIGHT to our Constitution, as below:

    My Proposed Concept to Legalize Cannabis:

    Article 6, Section 30 – The Right To Seed, Plant, Grow, Harvest, to Use Cannabis – Recreational and Medical Use –
    All Citizens of this State shall have the right to plant, seed, grow, and harvest Marijuana within this state, and no person shall violate that protected right by imposing a rule, code, or regulation that harms a person’s ability to transact with others the ability to purchase cannabis seeds, to plant, to grow, to distribute, other than to regulate the commercial activity thereof. No government entity shall make nor pass a law or code that substantially harms the free market will of the people, nor subject them to a fine, penalty, sanction less for violations of statute where the government has the requirement to protect the health and public safety, and property rights of another person.

  24. larry kurtz 2023-05-24 09:49

    Mr. Z, if you run in your legislative district as an unaffiliated candidate I will send you some money.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.