Voters could be asked about changes in state drug laws

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg has introduced two ballot measures that could change the way law enforcement handles illegal drug possession and ingestion cases in South Dakota.

The measures would make ingesting a controlled substance a petty offense instead of a felony and possession of a controlled substance a class one misdemeanor.

Voters would have a chance to vote on the ballot measures in the 2022 election.

The first measure would reclassify the illegal possession of all controlled drugs or substances as class one misdemeanors, regardless of their scheduled drug status in state law.

Anyone caught with illegal possession of a scheduled 1 or 2 drug faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine while the maximum penalty for a scheduled 3 or 4 drug is two years in prison and a $4,000 fine.

The maximum penalty of a class one misdemeanor is a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Anyone caught ingesting drugs would have to pay a $25 fine, according to the ballot measure. They would not have to serve any prison time.