SD bill seeks medical defense for marijuana charge

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota House committee is preparing to vote on a measure that would let people charged with possessing small amounts of marijuana argue in court that they need it for medical reasons.

The Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony on the measure last week and is set to vote on the bill Tuesday.

The sponsors say they do not want to legalize marijuana or set up a system where people could get it for medical purposes. But they say people suffering or dying from cancer or other diseases should be able to use medical necessity as a defense.

State and local law enforcement officials oppose the bill, saying it could open to door to eventual legalization of marijuana in South Dakota.

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