The following bill was introduced this afternoon in Pierre.
Representatives Kaiser, May, and Olson (Betty) and Senators Tieszen, Adelstein, Bradford, and Frerichs
FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to provide for an affirmative defense of medical necessity for certain marijuana offenses.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:
Section 1. It is an affirmative defense to the charge of possession of two ounces or less of marijuana under § 22-42-6 or the charge of ingesting marijuana for purpose of becoming intoxicated under § 22-42-15 if the defendant proves by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant has a medical necessity to possess or use marijuana. The court may consider expert testimony, the testimony of lay persons with similar medical conditions, any recommendation by a competent medical authority, and any other relevant testimony to determine whether a defendant has a medical necessity.
Section 2. For purposes of this Act, a medical necessity is:
(1) Any medical condition recognized by a competent medical authority as a condition for which marijuana is palliative; or
(2) Any medical condition that a competent medical authority has recommended that the defendant use marijuana for palliative care.
Well, this is what we have. If it passes, it opens the door for the therapeutic use of cannabis to be recognized in South Dakota law.
All this bill does is provide the same opportunity for a person accused of possession (in misdemeanor quantity) or ingestion of cannabis to present a defense already allowed to any person accused of virtually any other criminal offense in So. Dak.
That defense is "prevention of a greater harm."
Y'all need to let the sponsors listed above know that you appreciate their willingness to advocate justice (a rare quality among So. Dak. legislators).