Is weed legal in South Dakota?
Not quite. Medicinal cannabis became legal in the Mount Rushmore state when new legislation took effect on July 1, 2021. But recreational cannabis didn’t become legal at the same time even though voters had said it should.
Law and regulations in South Dakota
The November 2020 election made South Dakota the first state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana and adult-use cannabis in the same year.
Constitutional Amendment A, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative legalized recreational cannabis in South Dakota for adults 21 and over. It also required the South Dakota State Legislature to pass laws providing for the sale of hemp and setting up a medical marijuana program by April 1, 2022. Under the initiative, marijuana sales are taxed at a rate of 15%, with a portion allocated to funding state public schools. Starting July 1, 2021, adults 21 and older were supposed to be able to possess 1 ounce of cannabis with no more than 8 grams of that being concentrate. They were also going to be able to grow three plants and possess the harvest if there were no retailers in their area. But shortly after the votes were counted, law enforcement officials acting at the behest of Gov. Kristi Noem challenged the law in court. The state’s supreme court has heard arguments but not ruled. Meanwhile, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, the same group that got both initiatives on the ballot the first time, is gathering signatures to place a similar measure on the ballot in 2022.
South Dakota voters also passed Initiated Measure 26, which legalized the medical use of marijuana as well as the sale, delivery, manufacturing, and cultivation of cannabis for people with debilitating conditions. Registered patients can possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis and six plants. The legislation took effect July 21, 2021.
Frequently Asked Questions
In terms of cannabis, possessing between half a pound to less than a pound is a Class 5 felony. It’s punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
There’s no set definition for the term “no tolerance.” But there are very clear consequences for drug-related crimes in South Dakota. For example, South Dakota law states that operating or attempting to operate any vehicle while under the influence of marijuana is a Class 1 misdemeanor. In addition to having their driving license revoked for 30 days to one year, a person convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor for the first time could be imprisoned for up to one year and fined up to $2,000. The court could also order the driver to pay restitution for any damages they caused.