Marijuana penalties remain strict in South Dakota

Research suggests that attending festivals and rallies can impact how we feel about ourselves and our individual identities. Many people feel a sense of belonging and relative freedom when they are away from home and around people with the same interests. This notion also applies to riders who attend the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, where fast bikes and loud engines are celebrated by all.

It's no secret that everyone likes to have a little fun at the rally because they feel empowered to do so by those around them. You might be willing to partake in activities you would usually avoid, or feel free to do them because everyone around you is doing the same, but this doesn't always lead to good results. In fact, an increase in people and events often brings with it an increase in drug crimes.

According to the Washington Post, just over half of all Americans have tried marijuana in their lifetime, and nearly one in four Americans use it regularly today. These numbers have consequences if you are attending the rally. Police arrested more than 150 people and seized $1,000 in cash over a five-day period during the rally last year for drug-related crimes, according to KSOO.

South Dakota remains tough on crime

Although many states have more relaxed marijuana laws, South Dakota's drug laws remain as some of the toughest in the nation including:

· Paraphernalia: This includes pipes or other smoking devices and can carry a maximum penalty of 30 days in prison and a $500 fine.

· Possession: Possessing a small amount of marijuana (less than two ounces) can still carry a Class 1 misdemeanor penalty of up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

· Distributing: You can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor for providing others with marijuana, even if you aren't selling it.

· Sale: Penalties for the sale of marijuana range from a fine $2,000 to $15,000 and one to 15 years in prison depending on the amount and form of the drug.

If you are arrested for a drug-related crime at the rally, you will likely be required to return to the state to seek representation and appear before the court. Society's attitude toward marijuana is more casual today, but the law in South Dakota is still strict.

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