South Dakota Governor Allows Legal Challenge to Amendment Legalizing Adult-Use Cannabis
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South Dakota Governor Allows Legal Challenge to Amendment Legalizing Adult-Use Cannabis

Gov. Kristi Noem has issued an executive order supporting a lawsuit that questions the constitutionality of the voter-approved amendment, which passed in the November election.

January 11, 2021

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem issued an executive order Jan. 8 that allows a legal challenge to the state’s voter-approved adult-use cannabis legalization initiative to proceed, according to The Hill.

Noem’s order argues that the initiative process used by South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, the group behind Amendment A, to place the measure on the November ballot “was not proper and violated the procedures set forth in the South Dakota Constitution,” the news outlet reported.

In late November, Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom and South Dakota Highway Patrol Col. Rick Miller filed a lawsuit arguing that the voter-approved adult-use legalization measure violates the state’s one-subject rule and the amendments and revisions article of the South Dakota Constitution.

The plaintiffs argued that Amendment A has five subjects, which include legalizing cannabis, regulating cannabis, taxing cannabis, requiring the South Dakota Legislature to pass laws regarding hemp and ensuring access to medical cannabis.

Thom and Miller also asserted that the measure does not amend the South Dakota Constitution, but actually revises it, which requires a three-fourths vote from both chambers of the legislature.

South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws filed a response to the lawsuit last month, arguing that the case should be dismissed because voiding Amendment A would overturn the will of the people.

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg has argued that the amendment only covers one subject, The Hill reported.

Noem’s order states that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit have legal standing in their case against the amendment because they are acting on behalf of the governor, according to the news outlet. The amendment is set to take effect July 1.