Apparently almost half of South Dakotans live in counties where the state’s attorney thinks Jason Ravnsborg is full of crap.
At least that’s one way you could read this article from the Brookings Register in which Brookings County’s Republican state’s attorney Dan Nelson says he and three other state’s attorneys have joined Pennington County state’s attorney Mark Vargo in rejecting the Attorney General’s advice and refusing to prosecute individuals for possession of CBD oil:
“Now state’s attorneys including myself, Pennington, Lincoln, Minnehaha, and Brown (counties), believe that there is a gap in the law right now,” said Nelson.
“There’s not a basis under the law as it’s written now to prosecute it as controlled substance. So then we look at the definition marijuana. As marijuana is defined under South Dakota law right now, it has to be in an unaltered state, and CBD is an altered state of marijuana, so it actually doesn’t fit the definition marijuana either.”
Nelson warns against the possession of CBD despite the gap in the law.
“I am not advising anyone in the state of South Dakota to be in possession of it (CBD oil) until there is a definitive ruling on it,” continued Nelson. “The Attorney General’s office has issued a memorandum saying that regardless of whether or not CBD oil contains THC, he can still prosecute it as a felony. If you are found in possession of CBD, you will not be prosecuted for it in Brookings County.”
An exception is if the CBD is sent out to the state health lab and tested and meets the definition of marijuana. “If the presence of THC is found, then it’s completely different. Then we can initiate a prosecution on that” [Matthew Rhodes, “CBD Oil Cases Won’t Be Prosecuted in Brookings County,” Brookings Register, 2019.05.11].
Pennington, Lincoln, Minnehaha, Brown, and Brookings: that’s 48.8% of South Dakota’s population. If just one more county of the next eleven largest counties (Codington, Meade, Lawrence, Yankton, Davison, Beadle, Hughes, Union, Oglala Lakota, Clay, or Lake) swings Nelson and Vargo’s way, a majority of South Dakotans will be able to possess CBD oil without fear of prosecution by their local law enforcement. And since Ravnsborg has never tried a criminal case in front of a jury, the chances of being successfully prosecuted by the Attorney General anywhere in South Dakota are pretty slim.
The growing state’s attorneys’ revolt against the Attorney General show that voting in local elections matters… especially when you need sensible local officials to check ignorance and incompetence in Pierre.
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Speaking of ignorance and incompetence, Brookings blogger Pat Powers flakked for Dan Nelson in the 2016 and 2018 elections. Pat Powers thus supported a candidate who is opening his county’s door to CBD oil, which Governor Noem thinks should be treated as an illegal drug posing the same risk as heroin. Governor Noem, a sponsor of Powers’s blog, is thus advertising on a blog that has promoted a candidate who is now taking an action that, in her mind, leads to reefer madness.
In short, Kristi’s money just gave pot a boost.