Is THC Legal in South Dakota?

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What Is THC?

THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol, is one of the most common chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. Hence, THC is available in both marijuana and hemp. In hemp, the THC level is very low, typically no more than 0.3%, while the THC level in marijuana is higher than that in hemp plants or products. THC is a psychotropic compound potentially causing a high in users. THC is often commonly smoked as marijuana but can also be consumed by inhalation, oral ingestion, topical application, and sublingual administration. Although used recreationally, THC also has medicinal uses and may be used to alleviate and treat medical conditions such as glaucoma, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, and seizures.

Over the past decades, researchers have discovered many forms of THC, known as THC isomers. Some of the popular THC isomers include:

  • Delta-3-tetrahydrocannabinol
  • Delta-7-tetrahydrocannabinol
  • Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol
  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol
  • Delta-10-tetrahydrocannabinol
  • Exo-tetrahydrocannabinol


Is THC Legal in South Dakota?

Hemp-derived THC is legal in South Dakota pursuant to HB 1008. Per HB 1008, hemp-derived THC must not contain more than 0.3% THC. Marijuana-derived THC is illegal in South Dakota.

How Much THC is in Weed?

The THC content in marijuana varies considerably, ranging from 0.3% to more than 90% in some marijuana concentrates. THC levels are affected by multiple factors, from the time of planting the seeds to consumption. THC potency was first reliably measured in the 1960s, with several strains reported to contain between 4% and 5% THC. However, these estimates may be lower than actual figures since testing techniques and tools used in the past often degraded marijuana samples.

According to results from the test conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on confiscated marijuana in 2018, average THC levels were reported to be around 15%. Now, it is typical to find cannabis flowers at licensed dispensaries in states where marijuana is legal that contain more than 20% THC.

Depending on the type of marijuana product, the THC content may be higher than 20%. Besides marijuana flowers, marijuana edibles, tinctures, topicals, and extracts are commonly available in states where marijuana is legalized. Marijuana concentrates, made by extracting the terpenes and cannabinoids from the cannabis flower, typically contain no less than 70% THC. It is possible to find marijuana concentrates with THC levels topping 90%.

THC levels in marijuana products are usually printed on product labels under the heading "Potency Analysis". The product labels also include concentration levels for CBD, CBDA, and THCA. The THCA concentration in marijuana flowers is about 20% or more, while the THC content is about 1-2%. Note that THCA is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid.

THC compounds contained in weed have different concentration levels. The following THC compounds are listed in decreasing order of abundance in weed:

  • Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol
  • Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)
  • Tetrahydrocannabiorcol (THCC)
  • Tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP)
  • Delta-7 Tetrahydrocannabinol
  • Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol
  • Delta-10 Tetrahydrocannabinol

South Dakota THC Laws 2024

Marijuana-derived THC is currently illegal in South Dakota. Although South Dakota's Marijuana Legalization Initiative legalized recreational cannabis in the state for adults aged 21 and older, Governor Kristi Noem challenged the law in court, which has meant that the law has yet to go into effect. However, Initiative Measure 26 legalized the medical use of marijuana for qualifying South Dakotans. Under the state's medical marijuana program, registered patients may possess up to three ounces of natural and unaltered marijuana.

Federally, the United States Congress introduced the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed hemp from the DEA's Schedule I Substance list and defined hemp as a cannabis plant containing less than 0.3% THC. Even after the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law, South Dakota resisted the legalization of hemp-derived products for some time. Several efforts to enact HB 1191, a measure that would have legalized industrial hemp and hemp-derived THC products in the state, were rejected by Governor Kristi Noem. In March of 2019, the state's attorney general issued a statement claiming that all hemp CBD products, except for the prescription drug Epidiolex, were unlawful since they were classed as marijuana by the state.

However, in March 2020, Governor Noem signed HB 1008 to legalize the cultivation, sale, and consumption of hemp and hemp-derived products. Under the new legislation, hemp-derived THC products are legal as long as they do not contain more than 0.3% THC, bringing the state classification in line with the federal regulation.

In accordance with House Bill 1008, hemp and all of its derivatives and extracts are lawful in the state. Therefore, CBD products produced from hemp that contain less than 0.3% THC are legal in South Dakota. However, the measure prohibits the sale of smoking items, such as hemp flowers and vaporizers.

What is the Legal Limit for THC While Driving in South Dakota?

Unlike driving under the influence of alcohol, which has a legal limit in South Dakota, there is no stipulated legal limit for driving under the influence of marijuana in the state. However, per Section 32.23 (1)(5) of the South Dakota Codified Laws Annotated, a person is guilty of drugged driving if such an individual operates a vehicle under the influence of marijuana or any controlled substance to the degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving. For South Dakotans under 21, it is illegal to operate a vehicle having consumed any substance containing more than 0.3% THC for as long as there is physical evidence of consumption in the individual's body.

The penalty for drugged driving varies based on whether the offender has previously been convicted for the same offense (and, if so, the number of times) and on how intoxicated the offender was at the time of the arrest. The state deems it a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison or a $2,000 fine for a first-time offender.

Will THC Show Up on a Drug Test?

Yes, THC can show up on a drug test depending on several factors. Such factors include:

  • The sensitivity of the drug test
  • How often THC was consumed
  • The metabolism rate of the consumer's body
  • How much THC was consumed
  • The consumer's body fat levels

How Long Does THC Stay in the Body?

Although the intoxicating effects of THC may last up to 6 hours, it stays in the human system for much longer. THC metabolites are fat-soluble, which means they are stored in body fat deposits and can take a while for them to leave the system. For persons with more fat deposits, it will take even longer for the metabolites to leave the body system.

A drug test for THC levels in a person may be conducted by taking the same of the individual's blood, urine, saliva, or hair. Blood tests usually reveal recent THC use or use occurring the previous 2-12 hours. However, blood tests can detect THC use during the last 30 days in a heavy use case. For urine tests, THC can be detected 3-30 after use. Typically, saliva tests are used to detect THC use within the last 24 hours. However, a 2020 study revealed that THC was still detectable in the oral fluid of frequent marijuana smokers 72 hours after use. Hair follicle tests can detect THC use for up to 90 days and are often the most sensitive type of drug test.

What Is THC Oil?

THC oil is cannabis oil extracted from the marijuana plant. THC oil is made by infusion, maceration, or percolation (solvent extraction) of hashish or marijuana. After filtering and evaporating the solvent, a viscous liquid remains, which is the THC oil. THC oil is not the same as CBD oil. While THC oil is obtained from cannabis plants containing more than 0.3% THC, CBD oil is obtained from cannabis plants containing less than 0.3% THC. Although THC oil is currently illegal in South Dakota, it is safe to consume and can be formulated to be used in vape carts or vape pens. THC oil can be taken with a dab rig or stuck under the tongue sublingually.

What Is THC Distillate?

THC distillate is a highly pure form of cannabis-derived THC. The distillate has the appearance of thick oil. During the distillate process used in making the substance, all chemical compounds, including plant lipids and terpenes, are removed to form the pure distillate. You may make distillates from either hemp or marijuana. CBD distillate is obtained from hemp, while THC distillates are made from marijuana. THC is present in trace amounts in CBD distillates, usually less than 0.3 percent.

Although it is safe to ingest or consume, THC distillate is not for inexperienced users. The product has a high potency unmatched by most other concentrates, so only a small amount is needed to be intoxicated. Still, many THC distillate consumers use it for this purpose - to get intoxicated. THC distillate may be vaporized, and the vapors inhaled.

Where to Buy THC in South Dakota?

HB 1292 makes Delta-8 THC products in South Dakota available to South Dakotans aged 21 or older. Adults can use and purchase Delta-8 THC products online and through physical retail stores. The same rule applies to Delta-10 THC, THC-O acetate, hexahydrocannabinol (HHC), and all other Delta-9 THC isomers. Delta-9 THC products with no more than 0.3% THC may also be purchased from online or local shops. THC products are available as gummies, chocolate, candies, cookies, infused drinks, tinctures, and vaping cartridges.

THC Edibles Dosing Guide

THC Amount Expected Effects Who Should Use It?
Up to 2.5 mg Improves mental focus and mildly relieves pain and stress First-time users and microdosers
2.5 - 5 mg Provides stronger pain relief and euphoria. May impair judgment, perception, and coordination Medical marijuana patients, recreational marijuana users, and those looking to calm sleeps
5 - 10 mg Produces stronger euphoria. May also alter perception and impair coordination Users with high tolerance to THC
10 - 20 mg Very strong euphoria likely leading to higher likelihood of impaired judgment, slower reaction times, anxiety, and altered perception Users with particularly high tolerance to THC and medical marijuana patients with malabsorption syndrome (reduced gastrointestinal absorption)
50 - 100 mg Guaranteed mood and perception alteration along with impaired coordination. Likely to cause significant side effects such as pain, increased heart rate, and nausea Medical marijuana patients living with severe chronic pain, cancer, or other intractable conditions such as inflammatory disorders
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