The South Dakota Catholic Conference supports passage of HB 1129, which would establish certain safeguards in South Dakota’s medical marijuana program to protect patient safety and prevent abuses. The use of marijuana for medical purposes was legalized when voters approved Initiated Measure 26 in 2020.
The Church teaches, “The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense.” (CCC 2291)
The question of whether marijuana serves any valid therapeutic purpose is disputed, and this is ultimately a question that should be resolved through objective medical science. Recreational marijuana, however, has been proven to cause numerous harms to individuals, families, and society. Voters rejected the legalization of recreational marijuana with the defeat of Initiated Measure 27 in 2022. HB 1129 helps draw a clear line between recreational use and medical use, by ensuring that the latter is better regulated.
HB 1129 provides that a written certification for a patient to use marijuana for medical purposes cannot be issued unless the health care practitioner has conducted an in-person physical examination, assessed the patient’s medical history and current conditions, and discussed contraindications with any other drug the patient may be taking.