Lawmakers approve rules for medical pot in public schools

AP file photo

SIOUX FALLS (AP) – The South Dakota Department of Education succeeded Monday in its second attempt to get legislators to approve rules for allowing medical marijuana in public schools.

The Board of Education struck language that would have made the rules apply to private schools after the Legislature's Rules Review Committee last month rejected its first proposal. The state government has been tasked with setting up a medical marijuana program under a law voters passed last year, but the program has seen a clunky rollout at times.

“These are new waters for South Dakota," said Republican Sen. Jean Hunhoff at Monday's committee meeting.

The new medical pot law gives the Department of Education until the start of the school year to implement rules that are substantively identical to Colorado’s 2019 policy allowing medical pot in schools. The Colorado policy didn’t distinguish between private and public schools, but an amendment was later added that made it clear the rules only applied to public schools.

The new rules will allow schools and school nurses to opt out of administering medical marijuana but will allow caregivers to enter schools to do so. Medical marijuana advocates have said that arrangement would place an unnecessary burden on the parents and caregivers of students who need medical marijuana for conditions such as epilepsy.

The rules also require the students to have a medical marijuana identification card – something that won't be available from South Dakota's government until November. However, the policy will allow schools to accept ID cards from other states or government entities.

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