Medical Marijuana Patients In This State Can Obtain Hunting Licenses, Officials Confirm

Are medical marijuana patients in South Dakota allowed to have a hunting license? It looks like they are, which comes as a surprise to many considering federal law prohibiting gun ownership to users of any substance illegal.

What’s the deal with South Dakota and hunting licenses then?

Ryan Kolbeck, a Sioux Falls criminal defense attorney told South Dakota Searchlight that he has received many calls from South Dakotans who wanted to know if medical marijuana card holders can obtain a hunting license. Most of the calls came in the day following South Dakota’s failure to legalize recreational cannabis in the midterms. Many of them were hoping for legalization to happen so that they would be given the option to buy cannabis without having to register as a medical marijuana patient.

“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.”

According to Kolbeck, the questions on hunting licenses were driven more by speculation than by any official guidelines. These are not uncommon in other states with legal medical marijuana programs. For example, Minnesota presented a bill that aims to reclassify cannabis to enable medical users to own firearms.

See Also: Medical Marijuana Patients Don't Have Gun Rights: Federal Court Rules On Nikki Fried's Second Amendment Lawsuit

It’s All ‘Theoretical’

Cannabis activist Matthew Schweich thinks the question of losing a hunting license or even gun rights is theoretical.

“It’s really just a question of whether the (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) would try to get records from states on medical cannabis and use them to say that someone was dishonest on the forms,” said Schweich, “At this point, I’m not aware of that ever happening.”

Rules on both hunting licenses and firearm permits vary from state to state. In South Dakota, adults can carry a gun without a permit. At the moment, the use of medical marijuana does not prevent anyone from obtaining a hunting license.

“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,” said John Kanta, section chief for the Game, Fish & Parks Department.

Kanta added that cannabis use shouldn’t cause problems for a hunter unless a game officer catches someone shooting under the influence or violating hunting laws in other ways. 

Photo: Benzinga Edit; Sources:  Budding and Sebastian Pociecha on Unsplash

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Posted In: CannabisNewsMarketsJohn KantaMatthew Schweich medical marijuana and huntingRyan KolbeckSouth Dakota CannabisSouth Dakota Searchlight
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