“If they just simply have a medical marijuana card, one, we wouldn’t check that, but two, it wouldn’t prevent them from getting a license.”
By John Hult, South Dakota Searchlight
Sioux Falls lawyer Ryan Kolbeck typically doesn’t deal with legal questions about hunting licenses.
The criminal defense attorney did field multiple calls on the topic in the days following the November 8 election, however. They started coming in shortly after it became clear that South Dakota voters had voted to reject the legalization of recreational cannabis.
Each question had the same framing: Since federal law prohibits gun ownership by habitual marijuana users—or users of any substance federal classified as “illicit”—would they be able to obtain both a medical marijuana card and a hunting license in the state of South Dakota?
“You have to register with the state [to use medical marijuana], which is different from any other medication,” Kolbeck said. “People were wondering if the state of South Dakota could be trusted, basically.”
The callers had waited out the election, Kolbeck said, hoping a win for recreational marijuana would preclude them from applying for a medical marijuana card that would put their names on a state-held list.
The question was based more on speculation and suspicion of lawmakers than any official guidelines, Kolbeck said, but those suspicions aren’t especially uncommon in states with medical marijuana programs. The issue of hunting…