The 21st-century American culture widely accepts marijuana, with some states making medical and recreational cannabis legal. Unfortunately, this widespread tolerance makes it easy to forget that weed remains unlawful in many regions, including South Dakota.
Travelers planning to pass through or vacation here should know that the authorities treat marijuana offenses seriously. A conviction or just an arrest on drug charges can complicate your life in many ways, perhaps even landing you behind bars.
Troopers patrol highways rigorously
State trooper departments are responsible for many drug arrests along our interstate roads and highways. Unfortunately, they are infamous for profiling long-distance travelers. Some say they stop cars with out-of-state license plates for something minor when their true goal is to search for illegal substances.
Know the risks of a highway traffic stop if you intend to bring cannabis into or out of South Dakota.
Drug crimes are treated harshly
As mentioned, more states are legalizing recreational weed or reducing its severity, but the authorities here prosecute drug crimes aggressively. Possessing more than two ounces of marijuana is a felony. A conviction could subject you to incarceration and a fine approaching $10,000—just two possible penalties.
Those caught with harder drugs can expect even harsher consequences. For example, South Dakota penalties for cocaine possession include imprisonment and several thousands of dollars in fines.
Local guidance may help
Guidance from someone with up-to-date knowledge of local laws and prosecutors may be able to help you minimize your ordeal. You can finish your road trip or holiday and return home with as little damage as possible.