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These states legalized recreational marijuana on Election Day

Possessing small amounts of illicit drugs will no longer mean jail time in Oregon, and four other states legalized recreational marijuana on Election Day. USA TODAY

Americans were still waiting for clarity on the presidential race Wednesday morning. Perhaps lost in the frantic haze of election night was the legalization of recreational marijuana in four states.

Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota and Montana all passed legislation Tuesday permitting the possession of weed by adults, which means 15 states have legalized recreational weed or voted to legalize it.

South Dakota and Mississippi passed initiatives to allow medical marijuana, which means 36 states permit the legal distribution of medical weed, according to a tally by NORML, a nonprofit marijuana public advocacy group.

Legal weed supporters argue that the enforcement of bans does more harm than the drug itself, swallowing up community resources while disproportionately affecting people of color.

Opponents caution against the widespread use and accessibility that could come with legalization, suggesting it could lead to unforeseen health effects or have a negative effect on young people.

Despite the slew of passages, marijuana stocks fell Wednesday morning, probably a result of the uncertainty of the presidential and congressional elections.

Oregon, which is already home to legal marijuana use, further relaxed drug laws, becoming the first state to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Proponents said the removal of punishments for nonviolent drug offenses and increased social services could help those dealing with substance abuse get their life back on track.

Now that weed is legal in four more states, when will residents be able to buy it? Here’s what to know about weed in Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota and Montana.

Arizona

Proposition 207, which passed Tuesday, would legalize possession of as much as an ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and older and set up a licensing system for retail sales of the drug, starting with the medical marijuana dispensaries operating in the state.

Sales could begin in March under the measure.

Once the election results are made official Nov. 30, possessing and growing as many as six plants at home will be legal for adults.

The measure would allow people convicted of marijuana crimes, such as the felony charge for possession, to have their records expunged by the courts.

It would establish special “social equity” licenses for communities historically disenfranchised by marijuana laws.

New Jersey

In a ballot question Tuesday, voters overwhelmingly backed the possession, sale and use of marijuana for adults 21 and over.

But the drug will remain illegal until legislators pass a bill decriminalizing it.

Before marijuana users can light up at home without fear of arrest, the Legislature and Cannabis Regulatory Commission must pass either enabling legislation – which would formally direct law enforcement to stop arresting people for marijuana possession – or a decriminalization bill.

An alternative, which could happen shortly after results are certified, is a directive from the state attorney general’s office ordering police to stop arresting people under marijuana laws.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Wednesday that there would be no formal change to enforcement of the state’s marijuana laws until the Legislature and Cannabis Regulatory Commission passes legislationdecriminalizing the drug.

South Dakota

The narrow passage of Constitutional Amendment A legalizes the possession, transportation and distribution of up to an ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and over. The state resoundingly adopted medical marijuana.

Based on state law governing the process by which ballot questions take effect, voter-approved cannabis rules won’t become law until July 1, 2021.

Montana

A pair of complementary ballot initiatives that would legalize recreational marijuana use for adults were approved on Tuesday’s ballot, The Associated Press reported.

I-190 creates rules for marijuana use, including a 20% tax and the option for individual counties to prohibit dispensaries. CI-118 amended the state constitution to allow Montana to set the minimum buying age at 21.

Both measures needed to pass for recreational use to become legal.

Possession and use of weed would be legal starting Jan. 1, 2021, the bill says, and recreational sales are to begin in January 2022, The Associated Press reported.

Contributing: Ryan Randazzo, The Arizona Republic; Mike Davis, The Asbury Park Press; Joe Sneve, Sioux Falls Argus Leader; Great Falls Tribune staff

Where is pot legal? Four more states passed recreational weed laws Tuesday while South Dakota and Mississippi passed medical marijuana initiatives.

South Dakota Laws and Penalties

Possession

Hash & Concentrates

Paraphernalia

Miscellaneous

Penalty Details

Possession

** South Dakotan voters passed Constitutional Amendment A, which allows adults to purchase and possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to three plants for personal use. Amendment A takes effect on July 1, 2021.

Licensing applications for commercial producers and retailers begin no later than April 1, 2022.

Possession of 2 ounce or less is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum sentence of 1 year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $2,000.

Possession of more than 2 ounce – 0.5 lb is a Class 6 felony, punishable by a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $4,000.

Possession of 0.5 pound – 1 pound is a Class 5 felony, punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Possession of 1 pound -10 pounds is a Class 4 felony, punishable by a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $20,000.

Possession of more than 10 pounds is a Class 3 felony, punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $30,000.

A civil penalty may also be imposed following a conviction. This penalty cannot exceed $10,000.

  • S.D. Codified Laws § 22-42-6 (2015) Web Search
  • S.D. Codified Laws § 22-6-1 (2015) Web Search
  • S.D. Codified Laws § 22-6-2 (2015) Web Search

The sale or distribution of less than 1/2 ounce is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 days- 1 year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $2,000.

The sale or distribution of 1 ounce or less is a Class 6 felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $4,000.

The sale or distribution of 1 ounce – 0.5 pound is a Class 5 felony which is punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.

The sale or distribution of 0.5 pound – 1 pound is a Class 4 felony which is punishable by a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $20,000.

The sale or distribution of more than 1 pound is a Class 3 felony, punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $30,000.

The sale or distribution of 1 ounce or less to a minor is a Class 5 felony, punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.

The sale or distribution of 1 ounce – 0.5 pound to a minor is a Class 4 felony which is punishable by a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $20,000.

The sale or distribution of 0.5 pound – 1 pound to a minor is a Class 3 felony which is punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $30,000.

The sale or distribution of more than 1 pound to a minor is a Class 2 felony which is punishable by a maximum sentence of 25 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $50,000.

* The first felony conviction is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days imprisonment. A second or subsequent felony conviction is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year imprisonment.

The sale within 1,000 feet of a school or within 500 feet of other designated areas is a penalty that is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.

  • S.D. Codified Laws § 22-42-7 (2015) Web Search
  • S.D. Codified Laws § 22-6-1 (2015) Web Search
  • S.D. Codified Laws § 22-6-2 (2015) Web Search
Cultivation

Cultivation in South Dakota will be punished based upon the aggregate weight of the plants found as either simple possession or as possession with the intent to distribute. See the “Possession” and “Sale” sections for further penalty details.

Hash & Concentrates

South Dakota defines hashish as the resin extracted from any part of the cannabis plant. Hashish and concentrates constitute a Schedule I controlled substance.

  • S.D. Codified Laws § 34-20B-1(9) (2015) Web Search
  • S.D. Codified Laws § 34-20B-14 (10) (2015) Web Search

Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing or possessing with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, hashish or concentrates is a Class 4 felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine no greater than $20,000. A first time conviction carries a minimum term of imprisonment of 1 year, with subsequent conviction carrying a minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years. If the hashish or concentrates were distributed or dispensed to a minor, then the offense is a Class 2 felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of 25 years and a fine no greater than $50,000. A first conviction involving a minor carries a minimum term of imprisonment of 5 years, with subsequent convictions carrying a minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years.

  • S.D. Codified Laws § 22-42-2 (2015) Web Search
  • S.D. Codified Laws § 22-6-1 (2015) Web Search

Possession of hashish or concentrates is a Class 4 felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum fine of $20,000.

  • S.D. Codified Laws § 22-42-5 (2015) Web Search
  • S.D. Codified Laws § 22-6-1 (2015) Web Search

If hashish or concentrates were manufactured, distributed, dispensed, or possessed with intent to distribute or dispense within 1,000 feet of a school or playground or 500 feet of a youth center, public swimming pool, or arcade the offense is a Class 4 felony punishable by a minimum term no less than 5 years and no greater than 10 years and a fine no greater than $20,000.

  • S.D. Codified Laws § 22-42-19 (2015) Web Search

Any equipment or device that is used to create or manufacture hashish or concentrates is considered drug paraphernalia. Possessing any such device is a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by a term of imprisonment of 30 days and/or a fine of $500. Manufacturing or delivering any such device is Class 6 felony punishable by term of imprisonment of 2 years and/or a fine no greater than $4,000.

  • S.D. Codified Laws § 22-42A-1(2) (2015) Web Search
  • S.D. Codified Laws § 22-6-2 (2015) Web Search
  • S.D. Codified Laws § 22-6-1(9) (2015) Web Search
Paraphernalia

The possession of paraphernalia is a Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum sentence of 30 days imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500.

  • S.D. Codified Laws § 22-42A-3 (2015) Web Search
Miscellaneous

Inhabiting a room where marijuana is being used or stored is a misdemeanor which is punishable by a maximum sentence of 1 year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $2,000.

More Information
Drugged Driving

Every state criminalizes driving under the influence of a controlled substance. Some jurisdictions also impose additional per se laws. In their strictest form, these laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have a detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids above a specific, state-imposed threshold. Read further information about cannabinoids and their impact on psychomotor performance. Additional information regarding cannabinoids and proposed per se limits is available online.

Legalization

Generally, legalization means a policy that supports a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers can buy marijuana for personal use from a safe legal source.

Mandatory Minimum Sentence

When someone is convicted of an offense punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge must sentence the defendant to the mandatory minimum sentence or to a higher sentence. The judge has no power to sentence the defendant to less time than the mandatory minimum. A prisoner serving an MMS for a federal offense and for most state offenses will not be eligible for parole. Even peaceful marijuana smokers sentenced to “life MMS” must serve a life sentence with no chance of parole.

Medical Marijuana

This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective.

South Dakota Laws and Penalties Possession Hash & Concentrates Paraphernalia Miscellaneous Penalty Details Possession ** South Dakotan voters passed Constitutional Amendment A,