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AG: Tribal-issued medical pot cards should be honored

July 8, 2021 GMT

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota Attorney General’s Office says law enforcement should honor tribal-issued medical marijuana identification cards held by non-tribal members off the reservation, a view not shared by Gov. Kristi Noem’s administration and the state Highway Patrol.

Last week, Noem’s administration guided law enforcement officers not to honor Native American tribes’ medical marijuana ID cards if they are not issued to tribal members. The governor’s office said troopers who encounter 3 ounces or less of marijuana in the field would still make arrests of non-tribal members with tribal-issued medical marijuana cards.

The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe opened the state’s first marijuana dispensary after the medical cannabis law took effect July 1 and planned to issue ID cards to anyone with a certified medical condition. The state doesn’t plan to begin issuing medical marijuana cards until November.

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Tim Bormann, chief of staff for Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, said the tribe’s ID cards are valid under state law because they are medically certified.

Borman cited the law that states “a valid written certification issued within the previous year shall be deemed a registry identification card for a qualifying patient.”

Borman also said many state’s attorneys have already made their position clear that they will not be prosecuting possession of any amount of marijuana equal to, or less than 3 ounces. So, a secondary question, Borman said, is whether those same state’s attorneys would go through the steps to prosecute a low level misdemeanor charge relating to tribal-issued ID cards.