- The Weed Blog https://www.theweedblog.com

South Dakota Law Can Get You Busted For Smoking Marijuana In Another State


south dakota marijuanaBy Phillip Smith

South Dakota’s Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe announced over the weekend that it was suspending operations on its marijuana resort set to open on New Year’s Eve and that it had burned its pot crop. The tribe said it was seeking “clarification” from the Justice Department to ensure “the continued success of the marijuana venture.”

The move comes as at least three other Indian tribes that have embarked on marijuana operations after the Justice Department seemingly gave them a green light last year have been raided by the DEA, a Justice Department agency. At this point, Indian tribes have reason to be nervous about what the federal stance really is.

But the Flandreau pot operation also drew fast and intense opposition from the state’s Republican political establishment and law enforcement figures. And that opposition has brought renewed attention to one of the most bizarre state marijuana laws in the land, South Dakota’s “internal possession” law.

As Republican state Attorney General Marty Jackley warned—twice—when the tribe announced its plans in June, “South Dakota law prohibits the internal and physical possession, distribution, and manufacture of marijuana by: (1) all non-Indian persons anywhere in South Dakota including within Indian country; (2) all persons, including tribal members, outside of Indian Country.”

The sheriff and prosecutor of Moody County, where the Flandreau reservation is located, reiterated Jackley’s point.

“Bottom line,” said Sheriff Troy Wellman, “if you’re non-native, it’s illegal for you to have marijuana in your system, regardless of whether you’re on tribal ground.”

“If you are a non-tribal member that goes over onto that property and ingests marijuana in any form, you are breaking the laws in the state of South Dakota,” Moody County State’s Attorney Paul Lewis added.

They’re not kidding. Under a state law passed in 2001 andupheld by the state Supreme Court in 2004, you can be arrested, tried, and convicted for having marijuana in your system, even if you ingested it in another state or country (or Indian reservation).

Someone who legally smokes marijuana in Colorado and then drives across the prairie to South Dakota can be charged with the crime of having smoked marijuana elsewhere. It’s the same for medical marijuana patients in states bordering South Dakota. Someone who holds a Minnesota or Montana medical marijuana card, uses his medicine, and then travels to South Dakota can be charged with the crime of having medicated where it is legal.

Here is the law:

 22-42-15.   Ingesting substance, except alcoholic beverages, for the purpose of becoming intoxicated as misdemeanor–Venue for violation. Any person who intentionally ingests, inhales, or otherwise takes into the body any substance, except alcoholic beverages as defined in § 35-1-1, for purposes of becoming intoxicated, unless such substance is prescribed by a practitioner of the medical arts lawfully practicing within the scope of the practitioner’s practice, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The venue for a violation of this section exists in either the jurisdiction in which the substance was ingested, inhaled, or otherwise taken into the body or the jurisdiction in which the substance was detected in the body of the accused.

A Class 1 misdemeanor in South Dakota is punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a $2,000 fine. That’s the same penalty as for simple pot possession.

Note that the law specifically allows for prosecuting people internal possession either where they ingested the substance or where it was detected.

It’s not that the cops in South Dakota are randomly accosting passersby and demanding they submit to drug tests—probable cause is needed—but what typically happens is that someone is arrested and police then intimidate him into consenting to a urine drug test during booking. The person is then hit with another criminal charge—internal possession—providing more leverage for prosecutors during plea negotiations.

“The cops took me downtown and said if I didn’t piss for them, they’d stick something in my dick and take it by force,”Huron resident Dave Johnson said of his 2003 internal possession bust. “They were going to take it forcefully — that’s what they told me. So I said okay.”

That’s still how it works. People being booked into jails are told they need to provide a urine test, and if they demur, they are threatened with a court order and the prospect of forced drug testing. Of course, consenting to such drug tests makes it impossible for defense attorneys to challenge them in court, but agreeing to be tested means not only is the prospect of a forced drug test avoided, but also that the defendant will likely be booked and released instead of being held until he can appear before a judge for a warrant hearing.

“I defend a lot of drug cases,” said Huron attorney Ron Volesky, “and I’ve defended several of these urine sample cases, but I haven’t yet seen an instance where we could challenge a court order because everyone has voluntarily consented. As a practical matter, when the police pick someone up they say, ‘Look, we can do it the hard way or the easy way; you can voluntarily consent because we have probable cause, or we can wake up the judge, have him sign an order, and take you down and have you catheterized.’ They basically threaten you,” said Volesky.

While South Dakota residents are the most frequent victims of the state’s internal possession law, it could happen to anyone, especially visitors unaware of the law. And they don’t even have to get arrested for something to face a possible prosecution. Imagine you’re a medical marijuana patient visiting Rapid City for a shopping trip and your car gets T-boned by a drunk driver who runs a red light. Hospitals routinely test the blood of accident victims. Congratulations, you’ve just become a criminal.

South Dakota, where you can get busted for something you did legally elsewhere. Probably not a slogan the state tourism board is going to select anytime soon.

Article From StoptheDrugWar.orgCreative Commons LicensingDonate


About Author

Johnny Green


  1. In Huron they tied me down in a chair and forcefully took my blood without permission while I was having a seizure. I had 3 seizures in jail within 24 hours I received no medical attention. They refused to help me when I was begging to be helped, covered in my own piss and blood they left me be. What surprised them was it came back negative. It’s illegal to have epilepsy in south Dakota too.

  2. jasen joseph hylbert on

    It is really sad to hear that they are threatening to stick thc test kits up inside of people’s urethras in Dakota. I literally resorted to pretending to be religious in order to not be further abused by the rural Illinois inbred extortion racket. It was not that long ago that some of the Midwestern tribes were sacrificing young women in attempts to appease their imaginary corn gods. I am not joking. The arrival of the English and French languages to the central United States freed most of the inhabitants from their tribal slavemasters and executioners. The backward cultures of the central united states must either be forced to modernize their thinking pronto, or be subjugated by cultures which value honesty and a much greater degree of equality. As someone who does have some family roots in the Midwest, I urge those who fashion themselves as social justice warriors not to side with the xenophobic tribalists. We should not be taking sides based on family backgrounds at all. The folks who have major influence on a global scale such as the British Royalty have often gone to great lengths to intermarry and make alliances across the globe. The English language has incorporated words into it from more different languages than any other language. The world can be united through common languages and we can learn from eachother and free the folks still being oppressed by their local inbred “authorities”.

  3. jasen joseph hylbert on

    If their imaginary friend really wanted mandatory alcoholism, why then would have they created cannabis?

  4. jasen joseph hylbert on

    There are parts of rural Illinois which are like that – criminally insane assholes dressed as police basically trying to keep people out of their corner of the corn patch. Who knows what they are hiding there – from the looks of things they are hiding from the fact that they are inbred superstitious idiotic parasites. As for the Nazi like tactics – the Nazis were guilty of precisely what they were supposedly punishing jewish people for, and many Nazis were jewish themselves. Us gentiles must not be blamed for jew on jew crime.

  5. Chuck Rosenberg. This latest incompetent idiot is just trying to take goosestepping out of the closet. Secret courts,Loyalty purges? The D.E.A. and F.D.A. have become the U.S. equivalent of Gestapo S.S.. The D.E.A. was a bad idea to start with and has only gotten worse ever sense. States are able to do their job. They don’t need the D.E.A. I don’t need the D.E.A. You don’t need the D.E.A. .Nobody needs the D.E.A. They are misappropriating and commandeering billions of dollars of public funds that America can no longer justify..Their funding needs to be cut by,at least, ninety-nine percent and all need to be restructured to a much smaller and much more restrained gang of Authoritarian sociopaths.. This is a group of renegade law enforcement completely out-of-control .and way over-the-top.They are using the war on drugs as a smokescreen and a ruse to subvert our Civil and Human rights and increasingly more as a ruse to seize cash and property in their war on the American people.Also, through gross incompetence, have made it nearly impossible for a pain sufferer to get treatment without being thrown in jail.
    mismanagement and unwise misuse of their responsibility has,nearly, completely destroyed the science and research of anything they don’t approve of. If society is to survive these people must go. The drug war is just a ruse for an Authoritarian power grab. Other country’s that allow easy access to pain medication do not have a major drug problem. It is these government villains here who are orchestrating this farce.

  6. Pot as medicine : The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Inc. considers cocaine to be a valuable anesthetic and vasoconstricting agent when used as part of the treatment of a patient by a physician. No other single drug combines the anesthetic and vasoconstricting properties of cocaine.
    So if cocaine is used as medicine why is there not cocaine shops ,
    Now that makes as much sense as just because marijuana is being used by doctors we need to legalize it for recreational use !
    So just as cocaine is used by doctors only that the way marijuana should be !
    But people that are really just wanting to get high on marijuana use the benefits of pot as there stepping stone to legalize pot for all !
    The News and internet is being manipulated by ones who are going to profit Billions of dollars from legalization marijuana ! Marijuana and Mental Health: A number of studies have shown an association between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia with age at first use to be an important risk factor. High doses of marijuana can produce an acute psychotic reaction. And when your experiment with marijuana doesn’t work out why should taxpayers have pay for your medical expenses the rest of your life !
    Alcohol and pot who says that people has no problem with alcohol and tobacco? I know perfectly that they are drugs that kill a lot of people. More people die of drug related incidents (including prescription drugs) that from any other death cause in this country. Adding another one is not going to help at all. So, it is not a matter of hypocrisy, it is a matter of not adding more stupidity into our society and not helping to make more future vice slaves!

    So the the Nonviolent drug marijuana was involved ! Like so many of the other area killings !
    With as much anger thats showing here it maybe a Drug-induced psychosis: The use of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, LSD amphetamines and alcohol can sometimes cause psychotic symptoms to appear.A person will have symptoms of schizophrenia and symptoms of a mood disturbance, either at the same time or alternating over time.
    Depression with psychotic features: A person has severe depression and symptoms of psychosis without the mania associated with bipolar disorder.

  7. People will not work to get cocaine, heroin, crack, meth or any other hard drug legalized any time soon. You certainly couldn’t be talking about cannabis, especially considering that you accuse others of lying and exaggerating. To my knowledge cannabis is not physically addictive, cannot cause a fatal overdose or death from withdrawal, is not associated with violent behavior (other than the prohibition aspect) or rape. Rather all of these apply to alcohol which is shown to be 114 times more toxic than cannabis, so are you in favor of banning that? Let me guess, we’ve already crossed that bridge and it’s a part of our culture now so it doesn’t apply?

    Now tell me where I lied, exaggerated or misled?

  8. I have a really simple test for whether or not a drug is dangerous.like there trying to do with MARIJUANA !

    How hard will users work to get it legalized?

    How much money will they spend.

    How many lies and exaggerations will they tell.

    How much rhetoric will they use, how hard will they work to indoctrinate other users.

    How willing are they to be dishonest with THEMSELVES.

    If a drug drives millions of people to lie, exaggerate, con, beg, and addict their friends….Every day on Facebook I see people willing to share absolutely absurd “facts” about marijuana. Anyone with half a brain can figure out that at the very least it’s an exaggeration, and more likely a flat out lie.

    And no one, to my knowledge has ever lied, exaggerated, mislead people to get Broccoli !

  9. Here are the facts regarding South Dakota:
    It’s the 17th largest state in terms of physical size (out of 50 states). In other words, a pretty large state.
    But it is ranked 46th out of 50 in terms of population (only 853,000 live there).
    This probably explains the irrational attitudes of law enforcement agents there.
    A virtuous circle… nobody wants to live there, and law enforcement agents prefer to scare people away by threatening them with criminal action should they set foot in the state.

    Too bad, because the Black Hills are really gorgeous, and a perfect spot for smoking weed.

    Traveling to South Dakota is akin to willingly preparing for a drug test.

    The good news is that the ones in SD who perpetuate this Nazi-like environment are probably baby boomers and will be dead very soon and more than likely profit financially by keeping things status quo – as is usually the case. Don’t fool yourselves, South Dakota is just as corrupt as the rest of the states.

    I am sure South Dakota’s Millennials (the ones that have stayed) have a more sensible approach, and as soon as they get some power, they will aid the GenXers in removing these law enforcement officials from power and send them to the nursing homes where their delusions will find sympathetic ears.

  10. Wow talk about stupid law ….. You could of taken in second hand smoke while working as a reporter at a concert, fly home from Denver …. get into your car and then get t-boned by a drunk and end up in jail yourself …..

    Wow, really people?

    Also, notice the exception for alcohol, curious, wonder why?

  11. “. . . unless such substance is prescribed by a practitioner of the medical
    arts lawfully practicing within the scope of the practitioner’s practice” Medical arts? Practitioner’s practice? Who chased all the reasonable people out of South Dakota and replaced them with neanderthals? Who willingly lives there?

  12. Tennessee state laws are also extremely unjust.


    1/2 oz or less (first offense)
    Misdemeanor: 1 year sentence $ 250 fine

    1/2 oz or less (second offense)
    Misdemeanor: 1 year sentence $ 500 fine

    1/2 oz or less (third offense)
    Felony: 1 – 6 years sentence $ 1,000 fine

  13. Lawrence Goodwin on

    I believe you meant to say “East of Oregon.” West is nothing but ocean for thousands of miles. Otherwise, I’m sorry to hear about your reluctance to visit family. And time is running out fast for President Barack Obama to take executive action. He should entirely erase the fraudulent word “marihuana” from the Controlled Substances Act. Then, maybe that would give us solid legal ground to have South Dakota Republicans–and any other similarly tyrannical government officials nationwide–arrested for blatant violations of Americans’ First and Fourth Amendment rights.

  14. Crazy shit just happens all the time. Take this SD law, only very, very paranoid people could even think of a cow pie law like this. America, wake up, this shit is just getting too weird for me. Sometimes feel like getting a little home in no wear Nevada, covering it with earth, plant IED’s everywhere around me and hide. Only will come out when the stupid people die off. Sorry, just had to get that off my chest.

  15. Internal possession?!! WTF? What country is this, anyway?

    “and if my thought-dreams could be seen
    they’d probably put my head in a guillotine.
    But it’s alright, Ma. It’s life and life only”
    — Bob Dylan

  16. Note to self, stay in Oregon. I occasionally write to politicians and discuss my fear of traveling from the Oregon Coast to visit my aging siblings on the East Coast. I won’t travel overnight without cannabis products. Being on a fixed retirement income, I also cannot afford a cannabis charge and resulting fees for being caught having and consuming cannabis West of Oregon. I remain hopeful that changes to Federal law will happen before President Oboma leaves office.

  17. A handful of spiteful politicians and cops are about to be awash in the rising tide of rational legalization nationwide.

  18. I want to visit Rushmore but now I think I’ll stop by the Grand Canyon instead on my next trip to Colorado… That’s some crazy ass kangaroo court bullshit there boy. No offense SD but I’m never coming there anytime soon. What a shame.

Leave A Reply