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UNDERSTANDING CBD OIL IN SOUTH DAKOTA (Originally published October 2019. Updated February 2020).
Back on March 25, 2019, South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg issued a statement in an attempt to alleviate any confusion surrounding CBD laws in South Dakota. He stated that under South Dakota’s current rules, industrial hemp - and all forms of CBD oil - were illegal despite the passing of the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill.
While this is still (as of February 2020) the current stance in South Dakota, things may be changing soon. A bill that would legalize the commercial production of hemp (as well as the manufacturing of products like CBD oil) in South Dakota has been drafted for the 2020 legislative session, but it is unclear whether or not this bill will be passed - or even whether it will make it to a vote.
What Are the CBD Laws in South Dakota?
Although Ravnsborg hoped to clear up the CBD laws in South Dakota, his statement did not exactly have the desired effect. It seems to be a common issue across America, as CBD laws more or less vary according to the state. While you often read articles which claim ‘CBD is legal in all 50 states,’ the reality is not so black-and-white.
Most of the confusion stems from the fact that the Farm Bill of 2018 legalized the growth of hemp in the U.S. Many people assumed this meant complete nationwide legalization of CBD, as long as it came from hemp and contained 0.3% THC or less. What many people don't realize is that CBD is not explicitly mentioned in the Farm Bill. Also, few realize that states have the power to either adopt or reject the policies put forth by the Farm Bill.
As we mentioned above, it appears a bill regarding legal hemp in South Dakota may surface for the 2020 legislative session. However, this was also the case back during the 2019 session, when a bill (HB 1191) on legalized hemp was shot down.
HB 1191 aimed to legalize hemp (and therefore products like CBD oil), and indeed the state Senate voted 20-13 in favor of the bill. Unfortunately, the 20-13 vote did not achieve the required majority. We will see what 2020 brings in terms of updated laws on hemp and CBD in South Dakota.
The Impact on South Dakota Businesses
Ravnsborg’s 2019 statement on hemp/CBD came as a hammer blow to dozens of sellers and prospective customers in South Dakota. According to Leonard Vandermante of Hemporium, the Attorney General's words generated more darkness than light. He said that customers were even calling him to ask if they would get arrested for buying or possessing a hemp purse!
The official press release with Ravnsborg’s statement invited readers with questions to contact his office. When Vandermante did so, he was told to contact his local state attorney’s office. He continued his quest for more information, and ended up speaking with Mark Vargo; a Pennington County attorney.
Even Vargo, a legal expert, had to admit he could not clarify the legality of cannabidiol in South Dakota. While Vargo believed CBD products were illegal, he also acknowledged that he wasn't sure whether his office could prosecute such cases.
In April 2019, after the initial PR on the status of South Dakota CBD and hemp, Ravnsborg did not make himself available for interviews - despite calls for him to do so.
Can I Purchase CBD Oil in South Dakota?
The answer to this question should be pretty cut and dry as per the information stated above. In fact, back in April 2019, Bernard Davis became the first person arrested for possession of CBD after Ravnsborg’s statement. The incident occurred when Davis boarded a plane to Alaska. Sioux Falls police intervened and arrested him for possession of a 'controlled substance.'
Davis, an Alaskan resident, did not think he would get into trouble since the substance was legal in his home state. There have been several reports of similar arrests for CBD possession in other U.S. states. In most instances, however, these cases don't make it to court and eventually get dropped.
At Pure Kana, we are committed to providing our readers and customers with the most transparent, up-to-date information regarding CBD laws. It is not an easy task, however, given the confusion over ever-changing legal statuses.
Marijuana vs CBD in South Dakota
It appears that one of the main concerns of legalizing hemp in South Dakota is the fear that it would lead to the "legal" cultivation and possession of marijuana. Hemp is typically defined as cannabis that has a THC content of 0.3% or less. The problem is, hemp and marijuana both belong to the same species of plant - Cannabis sativa L. Expensive analytical lab testing is needed in order to distinguish whether a cannabis plant is hemp or marijuana.
South Dakota Codified Law 22-42-1(7) essentially says that weed is “all parts of any plant genus cannabis, whether it is growing or not, in its natural and unaltered state.”
Meanwhile, Codified Law 34-20B-1(12) expands on 22-42-1(7) by saying that weed is not only every part of the cannabis genus, but is also “the seeds thereof, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant of its seeds.”
The problem, of course, is that hemp is of the genus cannabis - meaning it meets both of the above definitions. As a result, CBD oil derived from hemp remains a problem in South Dakota.
There is, however, a section of the above-mentioned law that says marijuana does not include 'cake' or 'oil' made from the seeds of cannabis. Cannabis seeds do not typically possess usable amounts of cannabinoids, however, so this is largely irrelevant in terms of the production of something like CBD oil.
Confused yet? You're certainly not alone when it comes to understanding CBD laws in South Dakota.
Although Vargo acknowledged the difficulties of prosecuting CBD cases, the story of Bernard Davis does serve as a warning. There may be companies out there that ship CBD to South Dakota, but customers should do their own homework and research and understand any potential risks that may be involved.
So What's Next?
We wish it were possible to provide you with a definitive answer as far as what will happen in the future, but a maze of potential legislation buries everything. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), for instance, is apparently looking into the legal status of CBD oil in individual states; laws that the organization says “are confusing at best.”
The ACLU’s policy director, Libby Skarin, said that Ravnsborg’s announcement in South Dakota ‘opened a can of worms.’ While the group was not involved in the Bernard Davis case, it did point out the obvious fact that a felony conviction dramatically impacts a person’s life. It seems genuinely bizarre that a person could face criminal charges for a substance extracted from a federally legal plant (i.e. hemp).
Furthermore, Melissa Mentele of New Approach South Dakota, a cannabis reform group, said that CBD was about “as illegal as the water coming out of your tap.” She remains adamant that cannabidiol is NOT against the law in the state, and claims that you can't prosecute someone for breaking a law that doesn’t exist. She points out that there are many people in the state using CBD oil, and that if you arrest and charge one individual, you'd need to do it for thousands. Of course, this is just the opinion of one person. And it's an opinion that quite obviously does not go along with current state legislation.
Final Thoughts About CBD Oil in South Dakota
If you do aim to buy CBD online in South Dakota, you hopefully at least now know some useful information regarding the current situation. Even though some folks may still be using CBD in the state and buying it online, you are doing so at your own risj.
In fact, back in May 2019, police in Rapid City, South Dakota, seized hemp-derived CBD oil from a store because it carried trace amounts of THC. The irate retailer claimed that she conducted due diligence, and pointed out that the products contained THC levels that were below the federal limit of 0.3%.
Unfortunately, in South Dakota, and a few other states, this doesn’t matter. While attorneys like Mark Vargo say he isn’t aware of many prosecutions relating to the purchase or sale of cannabidiol products in the state, caution should still be taken. The landscape on CBD in South Dakota will hopefully be changing in the future - we are just not sure when.
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