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History of CBD and Cannabis: South Dakota

by in CBD Information November 20, 2019

Traditionally, South Dakota has always been very tough on cannabis possession crimes. Since the mid twentieth century, the state hasn’t budged an inch on its conservative view towards cannabis decriminalization and legalization.

Currently, cannabis is illegal for all purposes and possession of small amounts is treated as a misdemeanor fine. Carrying even trace amounts of marijuana could land someone months in prison, harsh fines, and a criminal record. In fact, South Dakota is the only state where testing positive for marijuana amounts to a felony criminal act.

Cannabis, CBD, and South Dakota

South Dakota officials first started to restrict consumer access to cannabis in the twenties, which resulted in a full ban by the year 1933. Throughout the country, states were enacting very similar laws to criminalize cannabis, or “Indian Hemp”, since it was seen as a dangerous influence.

For decades, criminal policy around cannabis remained largely the same. However, there was an extremely brief period of time in the seventies when South Dakota decriminalized cannabis. The decriminalization was repealed almost immediately after it passed.

Modernly, there have been several ballot initiatives seeking to legalize medical marijuana for qualified patients who’ve received a doctor’s recommendation.

Unlike almost any other state, constituents have started to become less accepting of medical marijuana than more, according to very specific polling. In 2006, a medical cannabis ballot initiative just barely failed, while a similar initiative failed by a much wider margin in 2010.

Contrary to popular misconception, it’s believed that the decrease in pro-cannabis legislation arose due to the popularity of the Tea Party movement during the time.

Over the years, there have been three other major medical marijuana ballot initiatives that have all failed to pass or gather the necessary amount of signatures to make it on the vote.

It’s believed that all these initiatives failed since national marijuana policy advocacy groups haven’t been willing to fund widespread campaigns. After all, South Dakota has a strong reputation for both constituent and legislative aggression towards softening cannabis policy.

Aside from the continual push and pull over statewide reform, South Carolina government has also exerted control over Indian tribes seeking to grow cannabis. In 2015, The Santee Sioux tribe legalized cannabis after a tribal vote and sought to sell it on the reservation. However, both federal and state legal involvement ultimately forced them to destroy their crops later in the year.

As federal policy and neighboring states policies towards cannabis change, it’s likely South Carolina will need to shift in order to adhere to interstate and national law. Though it’s hard to say how attitudes will change, many are hopeful that more will be done on the statewide level to grant legal access to cannabis.

Author: Leafwindow Team

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