State Watch

SD governor to challenge amendment legalizing recreational marijuana

Stefani Reynolds

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) on Friday issued an executive order allowing a legal challenge to the constitutionality of a November voter-approved amendment to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. 

In the order, Noem argues that the “initiative process used to place” the amendment seeking to legalize marijuana and require the legislature to pass laws ensuring access to marijuana for medical use “was not proper and violated the procedures set forth in the South Dakota Constitution.” 

Noem’s order also states that Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Rick Miller has legal standing to sue on the amendment because he is acting on behalf of the governor. 

In a lawsuit filed in late November, Miller and Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom claimed the constitutional amendment, Amendment A, violated rules against amending more than one subject at once. 

Amendment A had incorporated legalizing marijuana, regulating its recreational use, taxing it, ensuring access to medical marijuana and requiring that state lawmakers pass laws regulating hemp.

Instead, Miller and Thom are arguing that broader revisions to the state constitution need to be approved through a constitutional convention, according to The Associated Press

Meanwhile, South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg’s (R) office and a group of citizens who led the campaign for the amendment, set to go into effect July 1, argued that the amendment only covers one subject: cannabis. 

Amendment A passed with 54 percent support in the Nov. 3 election, while a separate question on legalizing medical marijuana received nearly 70 percent. 

Noem was among the biggest opponents to marijuana legalization, calling the vote “the wrong choice” in a statement released two days after the election.

Tags Cannabis Constitutional amendment Hemp Kristi Noem legalization of marijuana medical marijuana South Dakota The Associated Press
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