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Ballot measures reduce drug crimes to misdemeanors in state
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Ballot measures reduce drug crimes to misdemeanors in state

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South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg released explanations for two initiated measures related to making current felony drug charges misdemeanor offenses.

The explanations were released on Thursday. 

The first is an initiated measure to make the unauthorized possession of a controlled drug or substance a misdemeanor offense. 

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The measure would reclassify the unauthorized possession of all drugs or substances, regardless of schedule, as a class one misdemeanor offense. The current maximum penalty for class one misdemeanor is one year in jail and a $2,000 fine. 

The second explanation is for a measure that would make unauthorized ingestion of a controlled drug of substance a petty offense.

Currently, ingestion of a controlled drug of substance without a valid prescription for the substance ingested is a felony offense punishable by up to five years in prison or a $10,000 fine. The measure would reclassify unlawful ingestion of all controlled drugs or substances as a petty offense, regardless of schedule. 

Petty offenses are civil proceedings under state law and a judgment of $25 may be imposed. No time in jail may be imposed for the petty offense. 

Both ballot explanations are for the November 2022 special election. 

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