Is Weed Legal in South Dakota?

Is recreational cannabis legal in South Dakota? Is medicinal marijuana legal in South Dakota? What about South Dakota's CBD laws? Find out in this article.

South Dakota, home of national parks like Mount Rushmore, the Badlands and rolling prairies, this Mid-Western state is popular for being a tourist destination. With untainted natural sights, a vibrant cultural environment and a booming economy, its no wonder that South Dakota has been voted the second-best state in the US for overall wellbeing and happiness and quality of life.

However, the question that every marijuana enthusiast is probably thinking: Is weed legal in South Dakota? Let us explore further in this article to discover more about the laws surrounding marijuana legalization in South Dakota.

2021 Update: Has South Dakota legalised cannabis?

In 2020, two ballot initiatives were held to determine whether recreational and medical marijuana should be legalized. The South Dakota Initiated Measure 26 was certified by the South Dakota Secretary of State and there was also a vote on South Dakota Constitutional Amendment A to legalize the use of recreational marijuana.

Find out more about South Dakota's Marijuana Legalization Amendment here!

The result of these ballot initiatives: Cannabis in South Dakota will be legal for both medical and recreational use from July 1, 2021! This makes South Dakota the first state in US history to legalize both recreational and medical cannabis use at the same time.

However, until July 1st 2021, cannabis will remain illegal for all purposes. Thus, if you are caught selling, buying, or using cannabis before July 1st 2021, it could be a misdemeanor offense and result in jail time.

History of South Dakota's Cannabis Legalization

South Dakota has tried many attempts to legalize medical and recreational marijuana after cannabis was made illegal in 1931 from a nation wide ban.

2006: Ballot initiatives to legalize medical marijuana appeared on the 2006 election ballots in South Dakota. The 2006 initiative lost 52%-47%.

2015: Ballot initiatives to legalize medical marijuana also appeared on the 2010 election ballots in South Dakota. The 2010 initiative lost 63%-36%. Furthermore, in mid-2015, the South Dakotans Against Prohibition (SDAP) started a petition to decriminalize marijuana on the 2016 November ballot, removing penalties for paraphernalia and consumption and reclassifying possession of one ounce (28 g) or less a civil, rather than criminal, infraction. Unfortunately not enough signatures were gathered and the petition was withdrawn.

2018: An initiative in November 2017 was created by cannabis activists who gathered over 15,000 signatures to place medical marijuana on the 2018 ballot. Unfortunately, the initiative narrowly missed the number of valid signatures required to make the ballot.

2020: As mentioned above, we all know how the 2020 initiative turned out! Cannabis in South Dakota will be legal for both medical and recreational use from July 1, 2021!

Is recreational weed legal in South Dakota?

People have been warned to refrain from using cannabis until the coming July, with current laws still in place. Sheriff Kevin Thom said that deputies "will continue to arrest for marijuana use/possession up to the point it is legal."

Therefore, if you're caught in possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, you'll be charged with a misdemeanour and receive up to one year behind bars. The more you sell, the longer the sentence.

Residents of South Dakota "should refrain from using marijuana until that constitutional amendment takes effect," said Eric Whitcher, director of Pennington County's Public Defender's Office.

After July 1st 2021, individuals over the age of 21 will be allowed to possess, use, transport and sell paraphernalia and up to an ounce of marijuana. Those who do not live in an area with a licensed cannabis store will be able to own up to three plants. Additionally, licensed cannabis stores will be subjected to a 15% sales tax, aimed to be funnelled back into the state's general funds and public schools. Nevertheless, it will still be illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana and it is also illegal to smoke on school grounds, no-smoking zones and public places. The amendment also states that landlords and employees have the right to ban renters and workers from using cannabis.

Is medicinal marijuana legal in South Dakota?

Medicinal marijuana is becoming more popular as a treatment for epilepsychronic paincancer paininflammation, and many other conditions.

Currently, medicinal marijuana is illegal and those caught in possession of marijuana of any kind (both recreational and medicinal) will face harsh fines and possible jail time. Consequently, people have been warned to refrain from using cannabis until the coming July.

From July 1st 2021, if you get a doctor's certificate; you'll be allowed (at any age) up to three ounces if you have a "debilitating medical condition or symptom". Obviously, minors will need the permission of a parent or guardian first.

Is CBD Legal in South Dakota?

There has been controversy surrounding South Dakota's strict marijuana laws (before July 1st 2021), however, it is still possible to purchase CBD products.

In 2017, the state passed Senate Bill 95, which rescheduled CBD as a Schedule IV drug. Under Senate Bill 95, the Food and Drug Administration must approve CBD. Thus, Senate Bill 95 conflicts with the federal law: The Farm Bill, which was introduced in 2018.

The Farm Bill allowed for U.S legalized hemp cultivation and distribution, which effectively legalized hemp-derived CBD on a federal level. As industrial hemp has almost no use as a recreational drug due to minimal THC, the Federal Government has allowed farmers to grow industrial hemp to produce clothing, food, fuel, paper, and extracts such as CBD.

In conclusion, due to the disagreement between state and federal law in South Dakota, CBD is currently in a legal gray area, leaving many residents confused between which law to consider. It is only possible to legally purchase CBD products in South Dakota by physician prescription purchased through a pharmacy.

Buying and possessing CBD from an online shop is illegal under state law. Possession of non-FDA-approved CBD in South Dakota is illegal, but under state law, the penalty for possession differs from that of marijuana or THC products.

We recommend waiting until July 21st 2021 when the laws will relax and CBD products will become legal alongside recreational and medicinal marijuana.

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Sylvia Hu
Sylvia Hu

Sylvia is a writer based in Sydney with an interest in learning more about the cannabis industry. Sylvia is currently researching cannabis culture as well as local and global legislation & reform.