South Dakota Marijuana Possession Laws

Is Possession of Marijuana Legal in South Dakota?

Possession and the recreational use of marijuana of any amount are illegal in South Dakota, and offenders face stiff penalties and fines. An individual arrested with less than two ounces of marijuana in South Dakota faces penalties, including incarceration and fines. 

However, it is legal for persons with qualifying medical conditions to possess marijuana for medical use. The Department of Health and Education oversees the medical marijuana program in South Dakota to ensure the safety of patients. 

How Much Weed Is a Felony in South Dakota?

South Dakota laws prohibit an individual from knowingly possessing marijuana in any quantities. However, other factors influence the severity of the penalty a person faces following a conviction for possession of marijuana. They include:

  • The Offender's Age: Minors arrested with marijuana typically face probation and substance abuse treatment classes instead of incarceration. However, these penalties are more stringent for adults. Persons above 18 get incarcerated and pay fines if convicted.
  • The Quantity of Marijuana: South Dakota Laws on possession of marijuana specify that a person commits a felony punishable by one-year confinement in state prison and fines up to $4,000 if in possession of marijuana greater than two ounces. The penalty and fines for marijuana possession increase for larger quantities.
  • The Location of Arrest: South Dakota has areas designated as drug-free zones, and possession of marijuana within these areas results in more stringent punishment for the carrier. Drug-free zones in South Dakota include 1000 feet around a public or private elementary or secondary school. Also, a drug-free zone is 1,000 feet around a children's playground and 500 feet around a property of a youth center, public arcade facility, or public swimming pool. 

What Are the Penalties for 1st Time Offense of Possession of Weed in South Dakota?

The punishment a first-time offender receives for possession of marijuana depends on the amount of weed they carry at the time of the arrest. Subsequently, a first-time offender may get the following penalties for marijuana possession:

  • Two ounces or less: A jail sentence of one year and fines not exceeding $2,000.
  • Two ounces but less than half a pound: First-time offenders get two years confinement at the state prison and a fine of up to $4,000.
  • Half pound to one pound: Offenders face five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • One pound to ten pounds: It is a class 4 felony to possess marijuana up to 10 pounds, and persons found guilty face incarceration of up to 10 years. In addition, the courts may impose fines not exceeding $20,000.
  • More than ten pounds: The penalty is a jail sentence of up to 15 years and fines of up to $30,0000. 
  • Possession of marijuana by theft, fraud, or misrepresentation: The punishment for intentionally obtaining marijuana by theft, forgery, or deception is a 10-year jail time at the state prison and a fine not exceeding $20,000 (Section 22-42-8 of South Dakota Codified Laws). 

Where to Buy Legal Weed in South Dakota

The recreational use of marijuana is illegal in South Dakota. However, South Dakota Codified Laws make it legal for patients with qualifying medical conditions to purchase medical marijuana legally.

To access medical marijuana, the patient's physician must create an account with the South Dakota Medical Cannabis Program. Upon approval by the DOH, the patient receives a medical cannabis card by mail. The patients and their caregivers use the card to obtain medical marijuana from the state-licensed medical dispensaries duly certified by the DOH.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Buy Weed in South Dakota

To purchase marijuana legally in South Dakota, the individual must be 18 years or older. Persons under 18 with qualifying medical conditions may purchase medical marijuana legally through the aid of a designated caregiver. 

South Dakota outlaws all forms of weed possession and has no provision for purchasing weed for recreational use, regardless of age. Therefore, it is an offense for any individual to buy weed for recreational use in South Dakota. 

How Much Weed Can You Carry in South Dakota?

Although it is legal to purchase medical marijuana in South Dakota, patients and their caregivers may not possess more than three ounces or 85 grams of cannabis. South Dakota’s codified laws do not decriminalize weed. Therefore, possessing one ounce (28 grams) of weed attracts jail time and fines for recreational users.

What Happens if You Get Caught With Weed Under 18 in South Dakota?

All persons arrested for the possession of marijuana must undergo the requisite penalties, including minors. The punishment for minors depends mainly on the quantity of marijuana found in their possession. The courts can determine the punishment for persons under 18 to be any of or a combination of the following:

  • A one-year jail time and a fine of up to $2,000. However, the period of incarceration and fines increases with the amount of marijuana in the minor's possession.
  • In place of jail time, the courts can place the minor on probation at a supervised work program.
  • The judge may mandate electronic monitoring and house arrest, especially for first-time minor offenders arrested with large quantities of marijuana.
  • Where the minor violates the terms of probation, the courts can mandate remanding the youth in a juvenile correctional facility.
  • The courts may place the child in a residential treatment center or mandate a drug rehabilitation training and awareness program.
  • The judge may restrict, suspend, or revoke the driving license privilege of the minor.

Repeat minor offenders for marijuana possession may face the same penalties as an adult and do not qualify for alternative sentencing options.

How Many Marijuana Plants Can You Have in South Dakota?

Zero or up to four plants, depending on the grower’s status. South Dakota’s codified laws stipulate that patients in the medical marijuana program may grow not more than two flowering cannabis plants and two non-flowering cannabis plants at home. 

However, South Dakota law 22-42-2 prohibits the cultivation of marijuana for recreational use. Offenders face penalties such as fines and incarceration. 

Persons with qualifying medical conditions may encounter the following restrictions in cultivating their medical marijuana, including:

  • Only patients or caregivers 21 years or older may cultivate medical marijuana. Age-restricted persons with qualifying medical conditions may grow medical marijuana through a designated caregiver.
  • If there is more than one grower in a household, they cannot cultivate more than four plants together.
  • All intending home growers of medical marijuana must get approval from the DOH and join South Dakota’s marijuana program.
  • All intending home growers must include photography of their intended cultivation site with their application. 
  • The patient or caregiver must confine and lock the cultivation site always.
  • The DOH issues a two-part registry identification card to medical marijuana growers. The patient or caregiver must post one on the door of the locked medical marijuana cultivation site.
  • A patient must cultivate their cannabis in the same facility. Two or more caregivers cannot grow medical marijuana in the same location.

How Much Weed Can You Fly With from South Dakota?

It is illegal to travel by air out of South Dakota with marijuana, as federal laws governing airspace make it unlawful to possess marijuana of any amount while taking a flight. 

Nevertheless, the Transportation Security Administration allows patients to carry medical marijuana that contains not more than 0.3 percent THC in an airtight container and have their medical marijuana card.

Is It Illegal to Be High in Public in South Dakota?

It is not an offense to be high in public. However, knowingly ingesting marijuana in public or living in a place where marijuana is stored illegally is punishable by one-year incarceration and fines up to $2,000. Also, disorderly conduct resulting from marijuana intoxication is an offense in South Dakota.

Section 22-42-24 of South Dakota codified law prohibits a driver from operating a motor vehicle after consuming marijuana. Furthermore, Section 22-42-25 prohibits the passengers in a motor vehicle from smoking marijuana while the automobile is in motion. 

State laws make it illegal to operate a motor vehicle while impaired with marijuana. Persons driving under the influence of marijuana face the following penalties in South Dakota.

  • First Offense: One-year imprisonment in county jail and fines not exceeding $2,000. The courts also revoke the license for at least 30 days but not more than one year (Section 32-23-2). 
  • Second Offense: One-year incarceration sentence alongside fines up to $2,000. Revocation of the license for at least one year and mandatory completion of a court-approved chemical dependency program (Section 32-23-3). 
  • Third Offense: Up to two imprisonment and fines not exceeding $4,000. The court also revokes the license for one year and mandates the individual to complete a chemical dependency counseling program (Section 32-23-4)
  • Fourth Offense: Offenders face up to five years in prison and fines up to $10,000. Furthermore, the court revokes the driver's license for at least two years and mandates the individual to complete a rehabilitation counseling program approved by the court (Section 32-23-4.6). 
  • Fifth and Subsequent Offense: Suspension of license for not less than three years, fines not exceeding $20,000, and jail time of up to 10 years. The court will also impose the mandatory completion of substance abuse and dependency counseling program (Section 32-23-4.7). 
  • An offender under the age of 21: License suspension for 30 days for the first offense. The suspension time is 180 days for the second offense and 12 months for subsequent offenses (Section 32-23-21).