Is Marijuana Legal in South Dakota?

marijuana south dakota
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There are exciting times ahead for marijuana advocates in South Dakota. During the 2020 election cycle, voters successfully passed legislation that made South Dakota the first state in the U.S. to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana in the same year. However, the law only became active in July 2021. This means that the state’s marijuana landscape is still in its early stages of evolution. 

However, a suit filed by a group of law enforcement officers challenging the initiative to legalize adult use of cannabis in the state was subsequently favored by a judge. Although the case is currently in the Supreme Court, recreational use of marijuana is currently in limbo in the state. The following covers all the key details to expect from this state’s newly born marijuana industry.

Is weed legal in South Dakota?

Yes, recreational or adult use of cannabis is legal in South Dakota. This is however now subject to the verdict of a series of court cases. The legality of recreational marijuana was called into question after a judge ruled in favor of a suit challenging this initiative based on South Dakota’s single subject rule for ballot initiatives.

When did weed become legal in South Dakota?

Recreational use of marijuana was legalized in South Dakota during the 2020 election cycle. However, the law didn’t kick in until July 2021. Note that this is currently being challenged in court.

Are edibles legal in South Dakota?

Yes, edibles are legal in South Dakota. Again, this will be subject to the verdict of the court case seeking to repeal Amendment A.

Is medical marijuana legal in South Dakota?

Yes, medical marijuana is legal in the state and has been so since 2020. Again, although the law was enacted in 2020, it didn’t come into effect until July 2021.

How to get medical marijuana in South Dakota

Medical marijuana can be purchased in state-licensed dispensaries across South Dakota when they eventually open. For now, patients may opt for alternative sources like the one set up by members of the Flandreau Santiee Sioux Tribe. Note that this alternative medical marijuana program is independent of the state’s law and medical marijuana program.

Can I go to a dispensary without a card in South Dakota?

Since recreational use of marijuana could potentially be legal in South Dakota, you could technically purchase marijuana without an MMJ card. However, if you need to visit a dispensary to purchase medical marijuana, you’ll need to show your medical marijuana card. Note that state-backed dispensaries are expected to open up later in 2021.

How long does it take to get your medical card in South Dakota?

Medical marijuana patients can register with the state and expect to get their MMJ cards within a week depending on how they register. However, this is purely an expectation for now as the state has not started issuing medical marijuana cards.

Does South Dakota accept out-of-state MMJ cards?

South Dakota does not currently accept out-of-state MMJ cards. However, it’s still early days in the state plans for reciprocity might already be in the works. It’s worth noting that despite the provisions of this law, South Dakota will not start issuing medical marijuana cards until later in 2021.

Marijuana bills/laws in South Dakota & key questions

Cannabis legalization has come a long way in South Dakota. Before November 2020, marijuana was fully illegal in the state. For instance, as far back as 1977, South Dakota attempted to decriminalize marijuana possession. Although this effort was initially successful, it was short-lived and almost immediately repealed.

However, fast forward to the 2020 election cycle in South Dakota, voters passed the Constitutional Amendment A (the Marijuana Legalization Initiative) and Measure 26. While Measure 26 legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, Amendment A made the purchase, possession, and consumption of cannabis legal for recreational use by adults 21 and over.

However, a group of law enforcement officers subsequently challenged the legality of Amendment A in court and won. The challenge was based on South Dakota’s single-subject rule for ballot initiatives. The suit has since moved on to the state Supreme Court awaiting final judgment.

How much marijuana can I have in South Dakota? (in oz)

Recreational users can purchase up to an ounce of cannabis per time. However, medical marijuana patients registered with the state can purchase up to three ounces of marijuana. Also, registered MMJ patients in South Dakota can also store up to 90-days worth (8 ounces) of medical marijuana at any given time. However, despite this law becoming active as of July 2021, medical dispensaries may not be available for legal sales until November 2021.

Is Marijuana decriminalized in South Dakota?

No, medical marijuana possession is yet to be decriminalized in South Dakota. 

Is there a fine or penalty for marijuana possession in South Dakota?

Possessing half a pound to less than a pound of recreational marijuana is a Class 5 felony in South Dakota. This usually attracts a punishment of up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. This could however change if the state’s Supreme Court kicks out the case challenging the legality of Amendment A.

How many cannabis plants per household in South Dakota?

Recreational users can grow up to 3 marijuana plants and possess the harvest if there are no licensed retailers in their area. Medical marijuana cardholders are allowed to grow up to 6 cannabis plants at home.

South Dakota dispensaries regulations

The South Dakota Department of Health will oversee the medical marijuana program and license or regulate dispensaries statewide.

South Dakota growers regulations

The state’s Department of Health also currently regulates the cultivation of cannabis in South Dakota.

Closing thoughts

As exciting as the times are for marijuana legalization in South Dakota, the pending Supreme Court case put its industry in semi suspended state. However the suit turns out, the state will at least have a legal medical marijuana market until the next election cycle at least. Still, advocates will continue to pursue this on all fronts to ensure that the opportunity to have a fully legal industry is not missed.

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