South Dakota voters amended the state constitution to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. They also ordered legislators to regulate medicinal pot and the sale of hemp next year. Still, police can bust smokers. The amendment goes into effect July 1, 2021, as lawmakers and tax collectors resolve related procedural issues.
Amendment A passed by a 53-47 margin to make South Dakota the 14th state to fully decriminalize cannabis. Adults 21 or older can possess, transport and distribute up to an ounce of raw marijuana and eight ounces of oils or edibles.
What else does the amendment say?
Amendment A is a call to action for the State Department of Revenue to license commercial cultivators, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. Local governments are empowered to regulate licenses or ban them. Hemp sales are subject to approval during the next legislative session.
The amendment also:
- Levies a 15% tax on marijuana sales
- Directs tax revenue to fund implementation of the regulations
- Steers remaining tax dollars to public schools and the state’s general fund
You can get through this
People caught with any amount of marijuana before July 1 could still find themselves in legal purgatory. Local prosecutors and judges may use their discretion to dispose of cases between now and July.
For people currently facing charges or dealing with the fallout from a recent conviction, you may be able to seek a dismissal of charges, suspended imposition of punishment or concealment of your conviction.
If you are subject to an arrest or traffic stop, felony drug trafficking charges can result in prison time, heavy fines and the loss of driving privileges.
However, a mistake should not derail someone’s academic or professional career. If you are cited or arrested for marijuana possession, it is important to have someone in your corner who knows South Dakota and the state’s evolving criminal laws. Someone who can fight to get charges dismissed, reduced, suspended or sealed. Someone who can turn your worst moment into the best possible outcome.