SD Supreme Court Rules Recreational Pot Amendment Unconstitutional


     The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling nullifying a voter-passed amendment to the state constitution legalizing both recreational and medical marijuana use. 

       The high court says the amendment passed a year ago with 54% support violated the state’s requirement that constitutional amendments deal with just one subject.

      Specifically, Chief Justice Steven Jensen wrote in the majority opinion that the measure addressed at least 3 different subjects: recreational marijuana, medical marijuana, and hemp. 

      Gov. Kristi Noem praised the decision and said it doesn’t affect how she’s implementing a separate initiative passed by the voters legalizing medical pot. That law has already taken effect.

     Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom and South Dakota Highway Patrol Supt Colonel Rick Miller filed the lawsuit with Noem later saying she authorized Miller’s actions. 

     The Supreme Court ruled Thom and Miller didn’t have standing to sue, but since Noem authorized Miller they treated the case as if the governor had brought it herself.

      Noem campaigned strongly against the initiative petition, calling marijuana a social ill, but her administration’s legal challenge focused strictly on technical grounds.