In 2001 South Dakota lawmakers passed a bill that made it illegal not only to possess marijuana, but to have traces of the drug in the body. This has caused some problems as its well known that the presence of marijuana remains in the user's body for days or weeks after the effects have worn off, causing sober and innocent people to be arrested and charged with marijuana possession when they truly had none. Last week, South Dakota legislators introduced and showed support for a bill that would overturn this old law, once again making it legal to have marijuana in your system. Until this new bill is passed, those with even the smallest amount of marijuana in their system can still be charged with a felony. South Dakota is the only state in the U.S. to say that already ingested cannabis can be a felony.
"When I hear possession, I think the of the potential for distribution, and obviously if the drug is already ingested that can't happen," Lust said Thursday. "There is no chance this drug would end up in the hands of a child once it has been ingested." He noted the punishment, which can include a felony charge, seemed "unduly harsh" for the crime.
"It is refreshing to see our state making choices to move forward into lessening the penalties of cannabis use," Mentele said. "With cannabis being legal in over half of the U.S., it is very sad to see children and adult patients still suffering in our state. While this is not where we need to be, it is a step forward."