South Dakota’s recreational marijuana law to be challenged in court

A lawsuit in South Dakota backed by the governor questions the constitutionality of the voter-approved amendment that legalized recreational marijuana in the state.

The lawsuit was filed Friday by Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom and South Dakota Highway Patrol Superintendent Rick Miller and has the support of anti-legalization Gov. Kristi Noem, the Rapid City Journal reported.

South Dakota became the first state in the U.S. to simultaneously legalize adult-use and medical marijuana on Election Day, and the recreational measure, Amendment A, passed 53.5%-46.5%.

The law enforcement officers’ suit specifically targets Amendment A.

According to the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, the officers argue that “because the amendment inserts a new section into the constitution, it should be considered a revision to the constitution.”

Such a move, the suit contends, can be placed on the ballot only through a state convention, which has not happened since South Dakota joined the union in 1889.

The state is footing part of the bill for the suit, according to the Journal.

“The governor approved this because she took an oath to support and defend the constitution,” Ian Fury, a Noem spokesman, told the Rapid City newspaper.

“This is part of her duty as governor.”

Noem, who strongly opposes marijuana legalization and vetoed the state Legislature’s attempt to legalize industrial hemp in 2019, told the Journal she looks “forward to the court addressing the serious constitutional concerns laid out in this lawsuit.”

Lawsuits contesting new marijuana markets are common, and a suit in Nebraska used the constitutional argument earlier this year to keep medical marijuana off the ballot in that state.

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9 comments on “South Dakota’s recreational marijuana law to be challenged in court
  1. Jeff on

    Evoking our constitution to undermine the will of the South Dakota voters is disgusting. Amendment Z, in my opinion; was meant to prevent corrupt politicians from piggybacking thier legalized corruption. Our democracy is under attack!

    • James R Clark on

      Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom, South Dakota Highway Patrol Superintendent Rick Miller, Gov. Kristi Noem and as many as more (idiots) are guilty of peddling hemp as marijuana. Corrupt court systems and police organizations groom kids throughout the states that haven’t legalized pot yet. Maybe even some states that have. Why not. It’s free. It’s not marijuana.
      Guilty. Denying it. Running a muck.
      What’s not free is an over aged, middle aged person found guilty of ripping off earnings from his/her boss’s business and being sentenced by a judge to pay a huge $$$ restitution.
      BillingsGazette about Wyoming woman pleads guilty to stealing more than $300K from trucking company. Compete with the likes to keep my job?

  2. James R Clark on

    Regardless of constitutional framework there’s a big hole in the amendment.
    According to some seed selling companies: a single marijuana plant can produce 20-30 ounces.
    What that means is if there’s no dispensary in the area, recreational users could potentially possess 1 ounce and 3 plants worth of bud. Of course the government is going to = a dispensary in every town because potheads can’t sit on 5.5+ lbs. of smoke any given time to peddle to anybody 21+ anytime.
    Somehow the government can’t be seen promoting a dispensary because it thinks it’s good for its people. A dispensary just limits the amount a person can possess and helps the government reap the (projected) profits. Government should find another line of work. Who’s looking for recreational socialization with a government that can’t tell the difference. Respond in a creative way to enhance our community.
    Don’t get cold feet.

  3. Daniel Kruse on

    This is typical of the Republican party. Noem will go down in history as a stiff and fight-to-the-end conservative. And frankly, they all stink to high heaven. I’ve live long enough to see their motives and they are never good.

  4. Christine morben on

    This is the 3rd time since being elected….. which was rigged that governor Noem as infringed on our constitutional right! She is surprising the vote of the people and using tax payer money to do it!

  5. David Solmonson on

    Noem has caused over 1000 deaths in South Dakota due to her spineless inaction during the covid-19 pandemic. All the while she was galavanting from state to state campaigning for Trump…. While people were dying, now that’s leadership! The will of the people has spoken. Marijuana will be legalized and yes she needs to go in two years.

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