The Legislature’s Executive Board held a quick teleconference this morning to finish its work of booting dedicated marijuana advocates off the Medical Marijuana Oversight Committee.
On May 19 the E-Board appointed new MMOC members based on the new membership parameters set by 2023 Senate Bill 134. They removed most of the previous members, including Melissa Mentele of Emery, who held one of the original three patient seats on the MMOC but is also a long-standing promoter of cannabis ballot measures and one of the principals of Worthing medical marijuana business 605 Cannabis Inc. The E-Board kept Mentele’s 605 Cannabis honcho and pro-pot campaigner Elizabeth Tiger of Spearfish in the MMOC’s only remaining patient seat.
But today, the board booted Tiger and gave her seat to retired school administrator Brian Doherty of Pierre, someone the Republican leaders on the E-Board find more suitable:
House Republican leader Will Mortenson of Pierre nominated Doherty to take Tiger’s spot.…
“He’s very well qualified,” Mortenson said.
Republican Senator Lee Schoenbeck agreed.
“I think this is a good pick. We didn’t have any really true just-patient applicant. To me he’s the perfect pick,” Schoenbeck said.
…Mortenson said he had encouraged Doherty to apply for a patient representative slot on the original panel and told about their recent conversation. Mortenson agreed with Schoenbeck that none of the other applicants fit the pure definition of a qualifying patient [Bob Mercer, “Doherty Replaces Tiger on Medical Marijuana Panel,” KELO-TV, 2023.05.30].
The Republicans can make a reasonable case that Doherty speaks on the MMOC solely as a patient and not an entrepreneur who may make money on medical cannabis. But Doherty will also likely create less conflict for Schoenbeck, Mortenson, and other Republican leaders who want to keep a tight leash on marijuana and would rather not deal with experienced pro-marijuana policy advocates overseeing medical marijuana in South Dakota.