South Dakota officials are enrolling patients in the state’s new medical marijuana program — despite a lack of available medical cannabis.
Although the first medical marijuana cards are headed to approved patients, officials told the Associated Press that cardholders could be forced to wait months for dispensaries to begin operations. Patients are allowed, however, to grow up to three plants for personal use.
The state health department said it has received 11 applications from prospective cannabis growers, but none had been approved as of midday Friday. The process of receiving state and local approval — and actually growing plants — could take months, officials said.
South Dakota municipalities that will allow dispensaries, meanwhile, are receiving applications from prospective operators, but even if approved, they will need to wait for in-state growers to get up and running. Importing cannabis from out of state remains illegal under federal law.
Rapid City, the state’s second-largest city and a hub for the Black Hills region, plans to allow 15 dispensaries, while the largest municipality, Sioux Falls, will allow five.
South Dakota voters legalized both medical and recreational marijuana in 2020, but the state Supreme Court threw out the recreational cannabis amendment on technical grounds last month.