The number of South Dakotans with state-issued medical marijuana ID cards has spiked in recent weeks.
But crafters of a 45-week-old law that forced the Department of Health to create the medicinal cannabis program say the number of cards issued to this point lags behind what they’d anticipated. And there’d be even fewer than the 652 that have been sent out by DOH if not for mass patient screenings organized by an out-of-state medical cannabis certification company.
“I think they’re going incredibly slow,” said Melissa Mentele, the primary drafter of Initiated Measure 26, the ballot measure passed by voters in 2020 that legalized medical marijuana in South Dakota and created a framework for the state’s program.
According to data provided by DOH, the agency issued an average of two medical marijuana ID cards per day between Nov. 8, 2021, when the state opened up the application process, and April 26 of this year. At that time, 419 cards had been issued by the state.
Then MyMarijuanaCards.com, a Michigan-based business that connects individuals seeking state certification to use cannabis for medicinal purposes with physicians eligible to make that recommendation, began operating in South Dakota. And since then, it has served more than 300 customers, the vast majority of which have been certified for medical marijuana use by the company’s partnering physicians,…