Two officers seek to overturn South Dakotas passed marijuana measures

Published Nov 29, 2020 10:00 a.m. ET
iStock / grejak

The South Dakota governor is in favour of the request to have the marijuana legalization measure thrown out. Gov. Kristi Noem agrees with two South Dakota law enforcement officers who want the marijuana measure that was just approved by voters this month, tossed out.

The filing of the court challenge is partially paid for with state funds, and it aims to declare all ballots that were for or against Amendment as null and void. If overturned, the changes made to the state Constitution would also become invalid. The two officers, Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom and state Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Rick Miller, filed the case this week.

In a press release Officer, Thom talked about how he had spent his life defending and upholding the law. He believes that the South Dakota Constitution is the government's foundation and that any means to change or modify the Constitution should not be taken lightly. Due to no fault of the voters, he believes that the process was flawed. Thom announced just a few days ago in a press conference that he respects the voice of South Dakota voters.

One proposed amendment

The challenge attempts to overturn Amendment A, which won 54 percent of the vote on Election Day. Some people view the win was achieved on a technicality.  A 2018 requirement of the constitutional amendment states that only one proposed amendment may be embraced at a time, but the marijuana legalization legislation includes regulating cannabis for those 21 and over as well as regulating hemp and medical cannabis.

What is the purpose

The argument to be heard is the issue of five distinct subjects surrounding marijuana legalization and the regulation of different forms of marijuana. The purpose of the one-subject rule is to avoid having voters accept part of the amendment, and vote for it, only to see a different change in the Constitution they chose to support. This method seems to result in inaccurate votes reflecting the approval of the electorate of the proposed amendment.

The group that is supporting and preparing to defend Amendment A is preparing a strategy. South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws stated that their opponents should accept defeat instead of attempting to change the will of the people. Amendment A was fully vetted and approved by a substantial majority of South Dakota voters earlier this year, and this group believes the lawsuit was incorrectly filed under the South Dakota law. It is also interesting to note that the group's complaint has nothing to do with how the election was conducted. The issue lies with the text.

Final words

Lawyers for the group South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws believe that the law officers' claim is based on procedural grounds. These grounds are unsupported in the law and insufficient to overturn a constitutional amendment that voters have already approved. Miller from the South Dakota Highway Patrol is confident that the courts will safeguard the rule of law and the South Dakota Constitution, but only an official court process can make that determination for certain.

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