June 28, 2022 10:33 am ETEstimated Read Time: 4 Minutes
South Dakota isn’t exactly legendary for cannabis. In fact, quite the reverse is true. South Dakota still has harsh penalties surrounding cannabis consumption, and its newly instated medical cannabis program remains heavily restricted. The Flandreau Santee Sioux tribe is expanding cannabis cultivation efforts to fuel their expanding MMJ program that has already grown to serve over 10,000 patients, outstripping South Dakota’s state MMJ program by leaps and bounds.
Voters legalized medical cannabis in South Dakota via ballot initiative on November 3rd, 2020. Before this, cannabis in all forms was criminalized in the state. Notably, South Dakota is the only state in America that has made the ingestion of a controlled substance a felony. These policies have generally made it an unfriendly place for cannabis consumers.
State Sanctioned MMJ Program in SD Has Room For Improvement
Medical cannabis patients are allowed to purchase and possess up to 3 ounces of medical cannabis or equivalent in allowed cannabis products. According to the South Dakota State Health Department, the state has 1,150+ medical cannabis patients enrolled in the program. As a registed medical cannabis patient in the state of South Dakota, patients are also permitted to cultivate up to 3 cannabis plants at home for personal consumption. If South Dakota truly supports medical cannabis and the freedoms and rights of American citizens, they should really look into expanding their medical program and other cannabis policy reform.
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe Is Expanding Cannabis Cultivation Due to High Demand
Move away from South Dakota’s state MMJ program and over to the Flandreau Santee Sioux tribes’ program, and you will find an estimated 10,500 patients registered. Native Nations medical cannabis dispensary opened roughly ten months ago. Medical cannabis sales have been moving along so well that the tribe is opening two new cultivation facilities, with the first one opening this summer.
This is the same tribe that you might remember making news of when they reportedly planned to build a tourist resort that was cannabis-themed. That project was ultimately abandoned, and the cannabis crops that were started destroyed.
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The two new locations are slated to help serve a high demand for medical cannabis in South Dakota. Tribal spokesperson David Kills-A-Hundred, of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe says that their medical cannabis dispensary has had a positive financial impact telling media sources, “We have been able to increase the living standards for every tribal member that we have on the reservation.”
MMJ Program Expansion in South Dakota Increases Accessibility for Patients
Despite public support for cannabis liberalization, and the economic and therapeutic benefits a well structured medical cannabis program can provide to a community, South Dakotan lawmakers continue to kill cannabis bills seeking to address issues and make the state’s MMJ program better.
After elected representatives in South Dakota killed SB3, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws campaign director Matthew Schweich was quoted telling media sources, “we are disappointed by this outcome but we are not surprised. We have long been aware of the fact that most politicians and Pierre do not respect the opinions of their constituents when it comes to cannabis policy. We will continue our signature drive and put legalization back on the ballot this November, and we will win for a second time. We’ve done it before, we’ll do it again.”
If lawmakers in South Dakota continue to go against the will of the people and stand in the way of common sense policy reform that would benefit patients and communities alike, they will no doubt find themselves voted out of office.
If you live in South Dakota and support cannabis legalization, reach out to your local elected representatives and make it known that this issue is important to you. If they oppose it, remind them that they hold an elected position, and you will do everything in your power to vote them out.
Ashley Priest is a patient, mother, entrepreneur, and activist that fights to end prohibition globally for a better future for all. Ashley has a passion for sharing education pertaining to the goddess plant known as cannabis. She believes that a single seed can tip the scales and that together through education we can end the stigma that is preventing cannabis from flowering to its full potential globally.
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