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South Dakota Supreme Court strikes down recreational marijuana

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 10:17 AM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a voter-approved constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana is unconstitutional.

The South Dakota Supreme Court heard arguments in the ‘Amendment A’ case regarding the constitutionality of the amendment in April. Defense Attorney Brendan Johnson opened up those arguments, drawing attention to the fact that Amendment A passed by a sizeable margin in the November 2020 election.

The plaintiffs, Pennington County Sherriff Kevin Thom, and SD Highway Patrol Superintendent Rick Miller were backed by Gov. Kristi Noem, a long-time opponent of marijuana legalization. Attorney Lisa Prostrollo of Redstone Law argued that the lawsuit was not about cannabis but the rule of law. She said Amendment A violates the state’s single-subject rule, which requires ballot measures to be limited to a single subject.

The South Dakota Supreme Court did not overturn the sixth circuit court decision which ruled Amendment A unconstitutional. The law was supposed to take effect on July 1, 2021.

South Dakota lawmakers advanced a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults while repealing much of the state’s new medical marijuana law.

The state’s medical marijuana law did go into effect on July 1 after pushback and attempts to delay it. Initiated Measure 26 was voted on by South Dakota residents alongside Amendment A and also passed by a sizable margin.

The group behind both Amendment A and IM26, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Law, is already looking ahead. The Secretary of State last week approved a proposed 2022 cannabis legalization initiative for signature gathering.

The ballot initiative would make legalize marijuana for adults aged 21 and older. To qualify for next November’s ballot, organizers must collect just under 17,000 valid signatures from South Dakota voters by Nov.r 8.

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