Did you know that possession of leaf marijuana is a misdemeanor, but possession of THC/CBD edibles is a felony in South Dakota? The Senate Judiciary committee struck down a bill designed to equalize these punishments in February 2019.
Is this unusual in the current climate?
South Dakota has some of the strictest marijuana laws in the nation. There are no legal dispensaries for medical marijuana and those with prescriptions from out of state are not protected. Recreational use is still criminalized.
If you are caught in possession of two ounces or less of marijuana in the form of leaves, it is considered a misdemeanor. Above two ounces follow their respective felony penalties. THC or CBD edibles, however, are prosecuted as felonies at any amount.
THC or CBD-based edibles are readily available in states such as Colorado. They can come in the form of any of the following:
- Baked goods
- Hard candy
- Soft candy
- Vape or e-cigarette cartridges
Supporters of the edibles ban point out that the THC used in these products is far more potent and concentrated than naturally occurring in the marijuana plant. Opposers say it is the same intoxicant.
What makes THC or CBD more potent than leaf marijuana?
Cannabis plants have two natural compounds, cannabidiol (CBD) or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD is typically found in hemp products such as gummies, oils and supplements. CBD is nonpsychoactive. It has proven medical benefits for people with seizures, pain and anxiety.
THC is the psychoactive ingredient that gives users a high. It has similar effects and medical benefits to CBD but long-term use has typically negative psychiatric effects. This concentrated oil is typically called “hash” and receives more police and legal attention.
Until the punishment for leaf and edible marijuana is equalized, users that drive through or live in south Dakota should be aware of the risks. If not, you could face far harsher punishment than you realize.