Consequences of Getting a Medical Card in South Dakota

  1. South Dakota Cannabis
  2. South Dakota Medical Marijuana Card
  3. Consequences of Having a MMJ Card in South Dakota

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Benefits of Having a Medical Marijuana Card in South Dakota

A South Dakota medical marijuana card affords the holder several privileges, some of which are discussed below:

Legal Protection

Carrying a valid medical marijuana issued under the South Dakota medical cannabis program protects the cardholder from arrest for marijuana possession, use, or cultivation. Note that there are specific limits indicated under the state law for possession and cultivation. Hence, the South Dakota MMJ card only covers activities and limits specified under the state’s medical marijuana law.

With recreational cannabis illegal in the state, anyone carrying cannabis must have a medical marijuana card to be protected from arrest. In line with protecting authorized marijuana users and limiting unnecessary law enforcement stops. South Dakota advises patients to always have their MMJ cards with them when traveling with marijuana within the state. Possessing up to 2 ounces of marijuana without a medical marijuana card is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1-year imprisonment and a $2,000 fine.

Access for Minors

Under the South Dakota medical cannabis program, a minor may be issued a registry identification card under the conditions listed in Section 34-20G-33 of the South Dakota Codified Laws. Patients aged 18 or older can also apply for medical marijuana cards themselves without the help of caregivers. Although recreational cannabis is not yet legal in the state, adult-use cannabis products are typically accessible to only adults aged 21 or older.


One of the advantages of having a South Dakota medical cannabis card is that you can use the card to purchase medical cannabis in others where out-of-state patients are allowed to purchase cannabis. This makes access to medical marijuana treatment easy for MMJ cardholders who have to travel out of state for any reason. However, not all states offer reciprocity to out-of-state MMJ cardholders. You may be able to use a South Dakota MMJ card to purchase medical marijuana products in Nevada, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Arkansas, Maine, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia.

Employment Protections

Although Section 34-20G-24 of the South Dakota Codified Laws allows workplace bans on medical marijuana use and working while under the influence of marijuana by employees, it also prohibits medical marijuana cardholders from being considered under the influence due to the presence of THC or its metabolites that appear to be insufficient to cause impairment.

While drug tests are allowed, it is difficult for employers to use a drug test to definitively prove off-duty or on-duty use as the sole reason for the presence of THC metabolites in a drug test result. Hence, employers may need to rely on observed behaviors to determine if employees are working under the influence of marijuana. Still, employers are allowed to discipline employees for consuming marijuana in the workplace or working under the influence of marijuana as outlined under Section 34-20G-28 of the South Dakota Codified Laws.

Downsides of Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in South Dakota

A South Dakota medical marijuana card rules the holder out of a few benefits. Some of the downsides of having a South Dakota MMJ card include the following:

Firearm Prohibition

While South Dakota does not have a specific statute to deny MMJ cardholders the right to possess firearms, federal law stipulates that federally licensed firearm sellers may not sell firearms to MMJ cardholders. The ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Forearms, and Explosives), pursuant to the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Controlled Substances Act, forbids MMJ cardholders from being sold firearms by Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs). Therefore, having a South Dakota MMJ card may mean that you cannot legally purchase firearms and ammunition from FFLs in the state.

Driving Restrictions

One of the driving restrictions faced by South Dakota medical marijuana cardholders is the ineligibility to apply for commercial driver's licenses. CDLs are issued by the federal government through the United States Department of Transportation. Verified medical marijuana will not be issued CDLs due to the federal ban on marijuana. If a commercial driver licensee obtains a South Dakota MMJ card, such an individual puts their job at risk if they fail a drug test for THC. A South Dakota MMJ card would not provide protection for a commercial driver licensee who fails a THC drug test.

Annual Renewal

Renewing a South Dakota medical marijuana card may be an inconvenience to current cardholders as it requires significant effort and money to keep the card active. The state requires cardholders to visit their certifying physicians a minimum of once every year to be recertified. Since the renewal process takes time to be approved, MMJ cardholders are advised to initiate the process about 45 days prior to the expiration of the current cards. At the recertification appointment, which may be held via telemedicine, the MMJ cardholder may pay up to $200 in consultation fees.

Also, the South Dakota Department of Health charges $75 for a renewal application for a medical marijuana card. However, MMJ cardholders with gross monthly household income lower or equal to 130% of the federal poverty level may be granted a fee reduction. Such persons may be allowed to pay $20 instead of the standard $75 renewal application fee. Another $20 fee applies for MMJ cardholders who opt to grow marijuana plants at home and a further $20 for MMJ cardholders who need to register their caregivers.

Federal Prohibitions

Possessing a South Dakota medical marijuana card comes with certain drawbacks, such as restrictions on accessing certain federally funded privileges. While the state has legalized medical marijuana, the substance remains illegal at the federal level, leading to implications for cardholders.

One significant drawback is the restriction on using marijuana in federally assisted housing. Federal law classifies cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance, and this classification extends to all federal housing programs. As a result, individuals residing in federally assisted housing in South Dakota may face challenges if they have medical marijuana cards. The conflict between state and federal laws creates a complex situation for individuals seeking both housing assistance and medical cannabis treatment.

Additionally, the federal government's stance affects the employment prospects of South Dakota medical marijuana cardholders. Federal jobs often require individuals to pass background checks, and drug use, including marijuana, is a common criterion for disqualification. While South Dakota may have legalized medical marijuana at the state level, federal employers adhere to federal law, which considers cannabis use a disqualifying factor. This limitation restricts cardholders from pursuing certain federal job opportunities, potentially impacting their career choices.

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