The November 2020 general election saw 54% of voters from South Dakota voting for the legalization of Cannabis. Yet, the decision to legalize Cannabis was overturned in a shocking move by South Dakota's Judge Christina Klinger of the Sixth Circuit Court.
South Dakota's Constitutional Marijuana Legalization Initiative Amendment A was a constitutional amendment that legalized the recreational use of Marijuana for adults over 21 and allowed its taxation and regulation by the Department of Revenue by July 1, 2021, making it open for commercial use.
Post-election months saw the filing of a lawsuit by South Dakota Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Rick Miller and Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom, backed by South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem was public about her disagreement with Cannabis legalization. The lawsuit claimed that the Amendment was a violation of the state constitution, comprised of multiple subjects, and was a "revision" rather than an amendment.
In response, the Judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and overturned the election results. "Amendment A is a revision as it has far-reaching effects on the basic nature of South Dakota's governmental system. The failure to submit Amendment A through the proper constitutional process voids the Amendment, and it has no effect", said Judge Klinger.
However, the sponsor of Amendment A and attorney for South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, Brendan Johnson, was quick to respond to the ruling and stated they were currently in the works of preparing an appeal for the South Dakota Supreme Court. On the contrary, the governor was over the moon with the overturning, saying, "Today's decision protects and safeguards our constitution. I'm confident that the South Dakota Supreme Court, if asked to weigh in as well, will come to the same conclusion."
Along with Amendment A, 70% of public voters also approved Measure 26, which advocated for legalizing Marijuana for medical use. Measure 26 remains untouched, and no lawsuit has been filed against it, meaning it will be implemented in due time, provided things stay the same.
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