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South Dakota


The first medical dispensary in the state opened on July 27, 2022. The South Dakota Department of Health has the responsibility of outlining the process for obtaining medical cards and implementing administrative regulations for medical cannabis within the state. Any sale or purchase of cannabis outside of licensed medical cannabis businesses is considered illegal.

Entrepreneurs seeking to establish a dispensary in South Dakota are submitting permit applications to municipalities throughout the state. The sale of cannabis produced within the state is only permitted within licensed dispensaries. However, cultivation facilities in South Dakota have not yet obtained licenses, resulting in a temporary shortage of products for dispensaries to sell.

As of January 2022, the South Dakota Department of Health has granted the first three dispensary licenses and is currently in the process of granting additional licenses. Interested parties can submit an application for a dispensary license and anticipate a response within 90 days of the application submission date.

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South Dakota has a relatively complex and controversial history with cannabis legalization. In 2020, voters approved two separate ballot initiatives related to cannabis: one to legalize medical cannabis and another to legalize recreational cannabis. However, shortly after the election, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and the state’s Attorney General launched a legal challenge to the constitutional amendment that legalized recreational cannabis, arguing that it violated the state’s single-subject rule for ballot initiatives. In February 2021, a judge ruled in favor of the governor and struck down the amendment, effectively blocking the legalization of recreational cannabis in the state.

Despite this setback, the implementation of medical cannabis legalization in South Dakota has continued. In April 2021, Governor Noem signed a bill into law to establish a regulatory framework for medical cannabis, which is set to go into effect on July 1, 2021.

South Dakota’s cannabis policy has been shaped by its conservative political climate and rural character. The state has traditionally had strict drug laws, and possession of even small amounts of cannabis can lead to criminal charges and potential jail time. However, the passage of the medical cannabis initiative suggests a growing openness among South Dakota voters to cannabis legalization.

Overall, South Dakota remains a complex and somewhat uncertain landscape for cannabis legalization. While medical cannabis will soon be legal in the state, the legal challenge to the recreational cannabis amendment highlights the challenges and controversies surrounding broader cannabis legalization efforts in South Dakota.

LAST UPDATED 5/10/2023 – It’s important to remember that laws can be revised and updated frequently, so please keep this in mind.