South Dakota has made the headlines for both good and bad reasons since it legalized cannabis with an electoral measure in the last election cycle. While they managed to legalize, anti-cannabis forces immediately sued that decision. Now the case is coming to the South Dakota Supreme Court.
Amendment A, which legalized adult cannabis and established a regulated market, and Measure 26, which legalized medicinal cannabis, were both legalized last year. However, the leisure area of the measure has not yet been pushed forward. While residents of the state approved medical cannabis with a 70 percent margin, Amendment A was approved with a much smaller margin of 54 percent.
For a short while, the state was pleased with the new laws, but that excitement was put down pretty quickly. After the election, the South Dakota Highway Patrol Superintendent Colonel Rick Miller and Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom sued a technical change. They claim the measure is against the Constitution in trying to provide a framework for legalization and also legalize it by combining two things into one.
Worse still, Republican Governor Kristi Noem, who is conservative on cannabis, stood up for the lawsuit, claiming she never wanted cannabis legalized.
“I was personally against these measures and I firmly believe they are the wrong choice for the communities in South Dakota,” Noem wrote in a statement. “We need to find ways to strengthen our families, and I think we are taking a step backwards in that effort. I am also very disappointed that we are going to add millions of dollars in public safety costs to the state government and to put this new regulatory system in place. “
South Dakota Supreme Court to hear arguments on both sides
Both sides now have the opportunity to discuss their points in the South Dakota Supreme Court. On the morning of April 28, plaintiffs Thom and Miller will orally explain why cannabis should not be legalized, and proponents of Amendment A, represented by the South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, will explain why legal cannabis should be a part of Cannabis the future of South Dakota. Noem pays the plaintiffs’ costs and gives them an unfair advantage in what some are complaining about.
In a statement by the National Organization for the Reform of the Marijuana Law (NORML), Deputy Director Paul Armentano criticized the attempt to deny the will of the voters.
“Opponents of legalization cannot succeed either in public opinion court or at the ballot box,” said Deputy Director of the National Organization for the Reform of the Marijuana Law (NORML), Paul Armentano, as the opposition to the newly passed law for the first time started. “So now they are trying to overturn the election results and are desperately trying to uphold the cannabis ban. Whether or not you support marijuana legalization, Americans should be outraged by this openly undemocratic tactic. “
As of now, Measure 26 is safe and is slated to take effect on July 1, so the state will have at least one medical cannabis program in the near future. However, the fate of recreational cannabis in South Dakota is still in the air. Proponents of cannabis legalization can only hope the South Dakota Supreme Court will rule it out.