The South Dakota Catholic Conference supports House Bill 1150, which would allow local governments to exercise control over the presence and operation of commercial medical marijuana establishments within their jurisdictions.
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. However, public authorities have a legitimate interest in regulating even those drugs that have a valid medical purpose, to protect patient safety, prevent access by those who are not authorized to use such drugs, and maintain the safety and character of their local communities.
By providing local governments more authority to regulate commercial marijuana establishments, HB 1150 builds on the principle of subsidiarity, which holds that higher-level authorities should not unduly interfere in the governance of a smaller community, depriving the latter of its own proper role, but instead should support it where necessary in the pursuit of the common good. Current law already grants local governments extensive authority to regulate the sale and consumption of alcohol, and HB 1150 is consistent with this precedent.