The Associated Press November 2, 2010, 10:24PM ET

SD voters say no to medical marijuana

South Dakota voters on Tuesday once again rejected an effort to allow patients suffering from a debilitating medical condition legal access to marijuana.

With 48 percent of precincts reporting, 65 percent of voters opposed the measure, and 35 percent supported it.

A similar effort went up in smoke just four years ago, receiving 48 percent of the vote.

Supporters of Initiated Measure 13 said it was an issue of compassion, as those dealing with the pain and muscle spasms of multiple sclerosis or the nausea from cancer chemotherapy treatments should have access to something that could help them.

But opponents expressed concern that the proposed law would lead to increased use of pot by those with no medical need.

The state would have been the 15th to legalize medical marijuana.

South Dakota's proposal was more restrictive than laws in other states that have legalized marijuana for medical uses. It would have banned storefront dispensaries, instead requiring patients or their designated caregivers to cultivate and handle the marijuana. A caregiver would have been limited to growing for no more than five patients.

The proposal would have legalized marijuana to treat debilitating diseases such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, Lou Gehrig's disease and Alzheimer's, and conditions such as chronic pain, severe nausea or muscle spasms or seizures.

The state Health Department would have issued registry cards, good for a year, to patients who got doctors to certify that they had medical needs that could be treated with marijuana. Qualified patients and their designated caregivers could not have been arrested or prosecuted for having up to an ounce of pot.

The card holder or caregiver would have been able to have up to six marijuana plants, which would have had to be kept in a locked place.

The law stated that no more than one patient or caregiver would have been able to grow marijuana on the same property, unless the property was the primary residence for each of the cardholders.


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