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Governor Noem Supports Highway Patrol Framework for Law Enforcement Implementation of Medical Cannabis

June 30, 2021

PIERRE, S.D. – Today, Governor Kristi Noem welcomed the South Dakota Department of Public Safety’s framework for law enforcement implementation of the new medical cannabis law passed by the voters in IM-26, which goes into effect on July 1. The framework will be used by the South Dakota Highway Patrol to issue enforcement guidance to all personnel interacting with the public after July 1.  The Department’s framework is also available to all other law enforcement agencies in South Dakota as a resource. You can read the framework here


“As my team continues to implement the medical cannabis program as quickly and as responsibly as possible, we realize that there are still questions about how it will work for law enforcement, as well as for the citizens that they protect and serve,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “This framework will help to answer questions that law enforcement officers may have. And for the folks who are hurting and hopeful for relief, it will also answer some of their questions regarding what implementation will look like for them.”


The South Dakota Highway Patrol will issue guidance to its personnel consistent with the Framework, effective July 1.  The Framework covers questions for the most common situations South Dakota residents hoping to benefit from access to medical cannabis are likely to face after IM 26 goes into effect:


  1. “What if I don’t have a medical cannabis card?” ANSWER: Highway Patrol personnel will not, at the scene of a stop or interaction, arrest a South Dakota resident who is unable to present an unexpired medical cannabis card, as long each of the following apply:
    • The individual possesses no more than three ounces of natural and unaltered marijuana, as defined by SDCL 22-42-1;
    • The individual claims at the time of the interaction that the medical cannabis is to treat or alleviate a debilitating medical condition as defined by the Department of Health;
    • The individual produces printed or electronic documentation relative to the debilitating medical condition from a licensed medical doctor.


  1. “What if I have a nonresident card?” ANSWER: Highway Patrol personnel will not arrest nonresident cardholders for possession of cannabis, nor will they seize the cannabis or any associated paraphernalia, if the following applies:
    • The cardholder presents an unexpired medical cannabis card issued by another state; and
    • He or she possesses no more than three ounces of natural and unaltered cannabis, as defined by SDCL 22-42-1;


  1. “What if I have a tribal card?” ANSWER: The nonresident card provision applies in this instance, so long as the cardholder is an enrolled tribal member and presents an unexpired medical cannabis card issued by the resident’s tribe.


Nothing in the Framework, or the Highway Patrol’s upcoming guidance, will prevent or de-prioritize the enforcement of South Dakota’s impaired driving, drug possession, or drug trafficking laws after July 1. This Framework does not require any local law enforcement agency to change its own policies and procedures, nor is it intended as a substitute for law enforcement’s judgment and discretion in the field after July 1.


For more information on South Dakota’s medical cannabis program, visit MedCannabis.SD.gov.