Connect with us


South Dakota Governor Signs Bill Requiring Medical Marijuana Patients To Acknowledge Federal Gun Ban



The governor of South Dakota has signed a bill into law that will require patients to check off a box on medical marijuana card applications affirming that they’re aware that federal law prohibits cannabis consumers from buying and possessing firearms.

Gov. Kristi Noem (R) gave final approval to the legislation on Monday—about two weeks after it cleared the legislature. The measure represents a slightly dialed-back version of the original bill from Rep. Kevin Jensen (R), as it previously would have required prospective patients to sign their name on the application to acknowledge the federal gun rule.

Last month, a South Dakota Senate committee rejected a separate, more controversial House-passed bill that would have required medical marijuana dispensaries to post notices at their businesses warning patients about the federal gun ban for cannabis consumers. Those that failed to post the warnings would have faced daily fines.

The House advanced both gun-related cannabis measures last month, but the Senate committee only passed the amended version of the bill to mandate that patients fill out the checkbox for the firearm disclosure on their applications.

“It does nothing but inform the people,” Jensen said of his bill at last month’s committee hearing.

The governor said the gun legislation, as well as four other unrelated public health-centered measures she signed on Monday, “will keep South Dakotans safe and healthy.”

The federal Justice Department has insisted on the necessity of the banning cannabis consumers for possessing guns in numerous federal courts, arguing at points that people who use marijuana pose a unique danger, akin to permitting people with serious mental illness to own firearms.

The question over the constitutionality of the federal gun ban for people who use marijuana is now before the U.S. Supreme Court, which is considering taking up the issue.

Justices are expected to decide whether they will hear a federal government appeal of a circuit court ruling that found the firearm restriction violates the Second Amendment.

The ruling came from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which examined the federal statute known as Section 922(g)(3) that prevents someone who is an “unlawful user” of an illegal drug from buying or possessing firearms. The circuit court found the policy unconstitutional as applied to a man who faced a conviction after admitting to having used cannabis while in possession of a gun.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,000 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

While people who use cannabis are barred from owning firearms under the statute, a little-notice FBI memo from 2019 that recently surfaced shows that the federal government generally does not consider it a violation of the law for medical cannabis caregivers and growers to have guns.

Republican congressional lawmakers have filed two bills in the first half of this current two-year session that focus on gun and marijuana policy.

Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, filed legislation in May to protect the Second Amendment rights of people who use marijuana in legal states, allowing them to purchase and possess firearms that they’re currently prohibited from having under federal law.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has committed to attaching that legislation to a bipartisan marijuana banking bill that advanced out of committee in September.

Meanwhile, Mast is also cosponsoring a separate bill from Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) this session that would more narrowly allow medical cannabis patients to purchase and possess firearms.

Meanwhile, a Republican senator in Pennsylvania says he will soon introduce legislation that would remove barriers under state law to medical marijuana patients carrying firearms.

A Pennsylvania district attorney and gun rights advocates filed a lawsuit in federal court last month, seeking to overturn the ban preventing medical marijuana patients from buying and possessing firearms.

Maryland senators also recently took up a bill that’s meant to protect gun rights for medical marijuana patients.

Back in South Dakota, officials recently cleared the way for paid circulators to start collecting signatures for a 2024 marijuana legalization ballot initiative as the activist-led campaign continues to evaluate next steps.

Indiana House Panel Approves Psilocybin Research Bill That Already Passed Full Senate

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
Become a patron at Patreon!

Marijuana News In Your Inbox

Get our daily newsletter.

Support Marijuana Moment

Marijuana News In Your Inbox


Get our daily newsletter.