PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Southeast Technical College is asking state lawmakers to require education courses for employees of medical marijuana dispensaries in South Dakota.
Benjamin Valdez (VAL-deez), the Sioux Falls college’s vice president of academic affairs, presented the proposal on Monday to the Legislature’s Medical Marijuana Oversight Committee.
He said the courses could be received during one semester. They would include:
South Dakota’s medical marijuana laws.
Pharmacology, including potential interactions with other prescription drugs.
Ethics, standards and practices.
Compliance in dispensing.
An industry capstone, where the students would work in the medical cannabis industry and show they understand what they have learned.
There also would be requirements for mathematics and English.
He said no other state has such requirements.
“I think it sounds like a really interesting possibility,” committee member Katie Kassin of Vermillion said. She asked whether people already in the field would be grandfathered. Valdes said they should be required to enroll, too.
Valdez said the courses could be initially offered face to face but could be offered online as well in a hybrid format.
The committee’s chair, Republican Sen. Erin Tobin, said she had questions. “It seems like a lot of credits in one semester,” she said.
Valdez was testifying remotely and dropped off the call during the presentation. He didn’t return.
Jeremiah Murphy, a lobbyist from Rapid City representing the Cannabis Industry Association of South Dakota, said the need for education didn’t rank as a high priority for dispensaries. “It’s already hard to find to find people,” he said.
Kittrick Jeffries, who owns a Rapid City dispensary and a cannabis consulting business, said that adding the education requirement would shut down dispensaries for six months.
South Dakota voters legalized medical marijuana in 2020. Here’s a list of licensed establishments.