SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Medical marijuana can now legally be used in South Dakota… unless (for the most part) you’re a resident of South Dakota. This is according to guidelines announced Wednesday by the South Dakota Highway Patrol.

The guideline states that Highway Patrol personnel will not arrest South Dakota residents for possession as long as they have no more than 3 oz of ‘natural and unaltered marijuana,’ as long as: “the resident presents an unexpired medical cannabis card issued by another state,” or the resident is an enrolled tribal member with a valid card issued by their tribe.

Since the state of South Dakota will not be issuing cards until November 2021, what this means in practice is that the only people who can legally possess medical marijuana in South Dakota are card-holding, enrolled members of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, which is issuing its own cards to those who are approved t purchase, and residents of other states who have an unexpired card from their own state.

Due to rules requiring those applying for a medical card to be a resident of the state they are applying in, South Dakota residents would need to become residents of another state in order to attain a card they can use in South Dakota.

While a valid card meeting the above criteria is required to legally possess medical marijuana, lack of one will not necessarily result in an arrest. The guidelines note that a South Dakota resident should not be arrested if they meet each the following criteria:

  • They are in possession of no more than 3oz of marijuana.
  • They claim at the time of interaction that the marijuana is to treat or alleviate one of the debilitating medical conditions the state lists as justification for the use of medical marijuana.
  • They can produce printed or electronic documentation from a licensed physician (AKA, a doctor’s note) that they have been diagnosed as having a debilitating medical condition.

If the resident in question is unable to provide a doctor’s note, the officer is then allowed to ask for clarification from the person about their medical condition. If this all checks out, the officer can release the person, taking a sample of their marijuana for testing. They will then submit a report to the state’s attorney.

After an investigation, if the person cannot provide proof of a medical condition, officers can seize the marijuana, and it will be up to the state’s attorney to decide whether or not to charge the person.

If a resident is caught making false statements about their use of medical marijuana, they may be charged with a class 2 misdemeanor.

All impaired driving laws will still be enforced, and neither drivers nor passengers may smoke or consume marijuana in a vehicle.

KELOLAND News reached out to Tony Mangan, public information officer for the South Dakota Department of Public Safety to ask about the enforcement of medical marijuana and received the following response:

“I am not sure we are saying much more than what was said Wednesday. I will check.”

KELOLAND News has not yet received further clarification.