Is Medical-Only Weed Legal in South Dakota?

Medically reviewed by Alexander Tabibi, MD
September 7, 2021
South Dakota Cannabis Legality
South Dakota Cannabis Legality

In South Dakota, weed is legal for medical patients who have signed up for the state’s medical marijuana program.  They can legally purchase marijuana from state-licensed dispensaries in places such as Sioux Falls or Rapid City.  The Mount Rushmore State has also legalized recreational marijuana, and as of July 1, 2021, adults can legally purchase, possess, and grow cannabis with certain restrictions on possession.


History of Weed Laws

In 2020, voters passed the state’s first medical marijuana program as well as the state’s first adult-use recreational marijuana laws, being the only state to legalize both at once.  Constitutional Amendment A, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative became state law, determining that adults over the age of 21 could legally purchase and possess cannabis.  It also determined that the state had to develop laws enabling the sales of both hemp and marijuana to residents, while also developing a medical marijuana program by April 1 of 2022.  State law determined that marijuana sales are subject to a 15% tax which partially funds public schools.


At the same time, Initiated Measure 26 was passed to legalize the sales, delivery, manufacturing, and cultivation of medical marijuana, along with possession, for those with conditions deemed debilitating.  The law took effect on July 21st, 2021.


Where Can a Person Legally Purchase Weed in South Dakota?

South Dakota has not yet established their laws pertaining to dispensaries and how patients qualified by the state can purchase marijuana.  But, state-licensed medical dispensaries will be established, and the state, like all states with medical marijuana programs, will allow patients to only purchase from these state-licensed establishments.  It has yet to be determined which types of products will be legal, and whether or not there will be purchase limitations.


Where Can Cannabis Legally Be Used?

The state has not yet established laws pertaining to where medical cannabis can be used.  This information should be available in the future as the state begins to iron out regulations of its marijuana program.


Possession Laws

The state does not yet have possession laws established for medical marijuana patients, because the laws are simply too new.


Can Residents Grow Their Own?

South Dakota does plan to permit medical patients to cultivate their own cannabis, but the laws have yet to be fully established.


What is a Class 5 Felony in South Dakota?

In terms of weed, possessing between half a pound to less than a pound is a Class 5 felony. Can be punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.


Is South Dakota a No-Tolerance State?

There’s no set definition for the term “no tolerance.” But there are very clear consequences for drug-related crimes in South Dakota. For example, South Dakota law states that operating or attempting to operate any vehicle while under the influence of marijuana is a Class 1 misdemeanor. In addition to having their driving license revoked for 30 days to one year, a person convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor for the first time could be imprisoned for up to one year and fined up to $2,000. The court could also order the driver to pay restitution for any damages they caused. [Source]


Medical Marijuana

South Dakota’s medical marijuana program is still in the process of being established, but it will require that patients are only eligible if they have one of the qualifying conditions determined by the state, which remains under review.  They will have to apply for a medical card through the state in order to be able to purchase cannabis from a state-licensed dispensary.


Qualifying Conditions:

The state is still working out its exact list of qualifying conditions, but presently, the following conditions would make a person eligible for medical marijuana.

  • ALS
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Cancer
  • Cachexia
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • PTSD


Patient Qualifications:

The exact qualifications for a patient are not yet fully established but will require that a patient obtain a certification from an approved physician stating a diagnosis of one of the conditions above.


How to Register for Medical Marijuana in South Dakota

The state has not yet established a process for applying for medical marijuana but will announce the process soon once the registry is up and running.


Qualifying as a Caregiver

South Dakota has not yet set up laws pertaining to caregivers.


Reciprocity Laws

SD has not yet established laws for reciprocity.



South Dakota has not yet established regulations pertaining to the lab-testing of cannabis products sold in the state.