South Dakota Board of Education Standards passes medical marijuana rules

The South Dakota Board of Education Standards passed rules to set up the parameters by which medical marijuana can be used in school for students who need it.
Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 9:29 AM CDT
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PIERRE, S.D. (KOTA) - The South Dakota Board of Education Standards unanimously passed rules Monday that will set the parameters for how medical marijuana can be used in South Dakota schools, starting next year.

The rules came about as a result of the overwhelming passed of IM 26 last November.

Board members acknowledged that given the complexity of the issue, the nine pages of rules that they passed could, and likely would, be altered in the future.

“Just like any other rules we put in place, sometimes we miss things or we have to adjust things,” said Board President Jacqueline Sly. “I would say we have the ability to do that (here)... I would also say that we need to give it a fair shake, and kind of work out the kinks, because some of that can be worked out at the local levels.”

“I believe that it is important for us to realize that these are still relatively new laws for schools, and there will likely be changes brought to these laws by amendments,” said Diane Roy, general counsel to the SD Department of Education. “School districts across the state will experience the real life implementation of laws and rules.”

The document is the first attempt at regulating how students can use medical cannabis in schools. It covers what documents must be turned in prior to use, who can administer medical marijuana, and who is liable if any incident should occur.

IM 26 requires that South Dakota’s medical marijuana school implementation plan resembles Colorado’s. School officials say because of that, they have been talking to Colorado education officials about their experience with it.

“There is really a balance between what IM 26 says, and then how you get that into the schools,” said Wade Pogany, SD Associated School Boards Executive Director.

No one present at the meeting rose to speak firmly in opposition to the proposed plan. However, supporters did raise questions about it, specifically, some of the finer legal details.

“Our biggest concern was the distribution and possession in the schools, and the liability, with the chance something goes amiss if we are handling and distributing medical marijuana,” said Rob Munson, Executive Director for School Administrators of SD. “We are grateful that in the rules, those are spelled out very carefully.”

The next step in the medical marijuana legalization process is for the South Dakota Department of Health (DOH) to set up the parameters for the licensure and ID process. The DOH has until October 29th to complete that task, and likely will not be done until October. However, state education officials say that it is likely medical marijuana will not be used in schools at all until late 2021 or early 2022.