Medical Marijuana Process: South Dakota

What is The Process of Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in South Dakota?

Obtaining a medical marijuana card in South Dakota is daunting for almost anyone as there are many steps and patients must have an active email account. To add to the frustration, the state’s application software is user-unfriendly and so capable of tripping up even the most computer-savvy patients. Most importantly, once the patient has been approved by the provider for their card, the patient must wait for the state office to process, print, and then mail the card before being granted access to purchase products. All told, it typically takes anywhere from 2-3 weeks for a patient to receive their card after their certification appointment. Despite these hurdles, the team at Rapid Referrals has experience with managing all of them as we’ve been successfully certifying patients in the West River since April 2022. Below is the current process for obtaining a medical marijuana card in South Dakota.


Prerequisites and Restrictions

It is important to review the following prerequisites and restrictions before scheduling an appointment for a medical marijuana card. All patients (and caregivers) must have an active email account to register for a medical marijuana card. Patients must also have a valid form of picture ID (Driver’s License or Passport) and have a registered South Dakota mailing address. Unless accompanied by a legal guardian, all patients must be 18 years of age or older. If applicable, the guardian will need to be certified as a designated caregiver for the minor and so must have a separate email account. Certified caregivers can also be certified patients themselves, but must use a completely different email address for each account. In other words, one person can be both a certified patient and a certified caregiver but must use separate email accounts for each to be registered with the state.  All minors must be accompanied by their certified caregiver to shop at any dispensary.  Any patient under the age of 21 is restricted to purchasing only non-smoking products. Only patients and designated caregivers with active SD medical cards are allowed into a dispensary. 


Have a Qualifying Medical Condition?

If you believe medical marijuana may be right for you, then it’s worth pursuing. The first hurdle is determining whether or not you have a qualifying medical condition in accordance with SDCL 34-20G. The list includes a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe, debilitating pain; severe nausea, except nausea associated with pregnancy; seizures; or severe and persistent muscle spasms; Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or positive status for human immunodeficiency virus; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Multiple sclerosis; Cancer or its treatment if associated with severe or chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, or cachexia or severe wasting; Crohn’s disease; Epilepsy and seizures; or Post-traumatic stress disorder. Nationally, chronic pain is the most common diagnosis for medical marijuana cards.


Schedule an Appointment with a Certified Medical Provider

If you believe that you have a qualifying medical condition and would benefit from the therapeutic use of medical marijuana, the next step is to schedule an appointment with a certified South Dakota medical provider. These must be in-person evaluations. Rapid Referrals performs these certifications after the patient completes a medical history intake form upon arrival to their appointment.


The Medical Certification

At your appointment, if the certifying provider agrees that you have a qualifying medical condition, then you will be certified as such for up to 12 months from the evaluation date. The medical certification requires that the provider create a patient account on the South Dakota Medical Cannabis Program Registry. Once certified electronically, the patient is then immediately sent a time-sensitive email from the state office with a temporary password to set their logins for the account that was just created by the provider. The online medical certification also initiates the electronic medical card application process for the patient. At this point, the patient has been medically approved for their medical marijuana card but must complete their card application online.


Patient Completes the Online Application on the SD Medical Cannabis Program Website

Once logged in, the patient must then complete steps within the state’s electronic application before it can be officially submitted for review. The additional steps include answering two demographic questions, uploading a passport-style selfie and an ID photo, and declaring any special requests (e.g., minor or caregiver cards, low-income benefits, or permission to home cultivate).  These special requests require additional documentation that the patient needs to be prepared to upload at their appointment. Upon completion of these steps, the patient is then asked to pay electronically a $75 non-refundable fee to the state. This fee may be different depending on any special requests.


The Approval Process

Once submitted, the patient’s electronic application is held in a “pending” status while awaiting an administrative review by the program specialist at the state office. For straightforward card applications, this step is primarily to verify the patient’s identity and to review the uploaded photos, with which a state-issued picture medical marijuana card is created. Once “approved” online, the card will have been printed in Pierre, South Dakota, and mailed out the next business day. For straightforward card requests, this step can take 5-7 business days for processing or even longer with special requests. The standard mail delivery time from Pierre to the West River area is another 5-7 business days.

Special Requests

Applications with additional requests, such as low-income benefits, minor/caregiver cards, and home cultivation permission, are subject to additional background checks and verifications by the state office via email correspondence directly with the patient, all of which can delay card processing times by an additional 2-3 weeks. For low-income requests, please read THIS first.  For home cultivation permission, you must also bring a photo of the floor diagram of your home marking the location of the grow room as well as a picture of the door to the grow room locked with the lock/key visibly in place.


Shopping at the Dispensary

The patient must wait until their medical marijuana card arrives in the mail before they can go shopping at their local dispensary. Their card is valid for 12 months from the date of the medical certification and must be renewed annually for continued use.


Our Rapid Referrals Promise

Rest assured at Rapid Referrals, we try to make this process as smooth as possible, providing full technical support every step of the way. Schedule an appointment with Rapid Referrals for your medical marijuana card evaluation and certification and we’ll take care of the rest.

Medical cannabis or medical marijuana is for qualified patients only.

Medical marijuana (cannabis) can be administered through various methods, including capsules, lozenges, tinctures, dermal patches, oral or dermal sprays, cannabis edibles, and vaporizing or smoking dried buds.

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