Medical marijuana bill fails
January 27, 2005
Brad Perriello, Associated Press, Aberdeen News
PIERRE, S.D. - Marijuana should not be legalized for medical purposes in
South Dakota, legislators decided Friday.
The House Health Committee voted 11-1 against a bill that would have
allowed people with certain debilitating illnesses to use pot.
HB1109 would have given doctors permission to prescribe up to 5 ounces of
marijuana for those who suffer from such diseases as cancer, glaucoma and
AIDs, and for people with chronic pain, nausea or seizures.
Rep. Gerald Lange, D-Madison, said the bill provides a necessary
alternative for patients who do not get relief from traditional
"There are certain debilitating medical conditions that are rather
untreatable by contemporary medical practices," said Lange, prime sponsor
of the bill.
The measure would have required doctors to certify in writing that
patients suffer from qualifying diseases and explain the risks and
benefits of marijuana use to them. In addition, both doctors and patients
would have had to register with the Health Department.
Charlie McGuigan, an assistant state attorney general, urged legislators
to reject the bill. He said marijuana use would still be a federal crime
if the bill became state law.
Marijuana causes many adverse health effects, McGuigan said, adding that
the active ingredient in marijuana is currently available in prescription
The state lawyer also said such a law would encourage illegal drug traffic
because people would need to buy it somewhere.
"Where is this marijuana going to come from?" he asked.
South Dakota lawmakers have rejected similar bills numerous times in
The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to consider a medical marijuana case