Voters in South Dakota agreed to legalize marijuana. However a choose dominated that it was unconstitutional.

In November 2020, over 54% of South Dakota voters approved a constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana in their state.

In a worrying turn of events on Monday, a state district judge appointed by Governor Kristi L. Noem (R) has rejected the measure. She stated that this legislation would have “far-reaching effects on the fundamental nature” of the state government and was unconstitutional.

Judge Christina Klinger’s decision to repeal the change will begin a long, tough road for cannabis activists in the state as they continue the struggle for citizens’ rights to grow, license and sell weeds.

South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws (SDBML), led by Attorney Brendan Johnson, told Sioux Falls Argus leader that they will appeal to the Supreme Court. Johnson has a vested interest in being one of the leaders who worked to make legalization happen in South Dakota.

SDBML has capitalized on the national trend of state decriminalization, leveraging the successes of other states and the changing dynamics of drug use in the US to add credibility to their state marijuana program.

Although federal law still bans the sale and consumption of pots, huge strides have been made across the country to enable medical marijuana programs, the hemp industry, and recreational use. Currently, only six states keep marijuana completely illegal – Idaho, Wyoming, Kansas, Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina. That 12% of the United States is a rapidly dwindling number as more states examine the legality of medical marijuana.

The decriminalization process is spreading to the national level. As of December, the House passed a law that defines decriminalization policy at the federal level. The legislation still needs to get a majority in the Senate. While proponents are hopeful, there is still a lot of uncertainty.

The legalization process in South Dakota is drawing attention as the proposed measures will represent an intense change in policy. The proposed Amendment A, driven by the SDBML, would highlight South Dakota as the first state to legalize cannabis for both medicinal and recreational use at the same time.

Support for the measure was surprisingly picked up by both parties before the election. Some Republican lawmakers in South Dakotan called their support a simple function: they uphold the rights to personal freedom and the responsibility of citizens.

“We have a real problem here where we’ve criminalized an entire generation of South Dakotans and paid a price,” Johnson of South Dakotans for better marijuana laws told Associated Press last year.

Unfortunately, Governor Noem has publicly expressed her opposition to the initiative, even though the majority of citizens who have come to vote have received the support. The fight against the effort was led by two law enforcement officers: Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom and Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Rick Miller, who filed a lawsuit against the change last November. Governor Noem said the state would pay for all legal costs.

Presiding Judge Klinger, who had been appointed by the governor just a year earlier, said the change violated the legal requirements that limit such legislation to dealing with a single issue.

Amendment A did not address a single issue as it covered taxes, corporate licenses and hemp cultivation. Klinger added that it also undermined the powers of state lawmakers and the governor’s office by allowing a state agency to administer recreational marijuana.

Noem applauded Judge Klingers’ views on the Argus leader, saying it was a decision that “protects and protects our constitution”.

“I am confident that if the South Dakota Supreme Court is also asked to weigh up, it will come to the same conclusion,” said Noem.

The Supreme Court will have a short window to decide whether to support or override those who think like Noem and Klinger, and it will be interesting to see how that plays out. If the change is confirmed, July 1st will be the earliest time legal cannabis possession will be official.

It will indeed be an unfortunate political climate if 54% of state electoral decisions are disregarded, and we wish the prosecutors the best in fighting for the rights of their state. More news on the battle to legalize cannabis in South Dakota in 2021.

Additional resources:

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Want to find out how legalizing medical and recreational cannabis can make a difference? You can read up on the marijuana activism lifestyle and see how you can help now.

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