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WATCH: South Dakota Supreme Court hearing on Amendment A

The South Dakota Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in the case involving a constitutional...
The South Dakota Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in the case involving a constitutional amendment legalizing recreational marijuana in the state.(Dakota News Now)
Published: Apr. 27, 2021 at 11:39 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 28, 2021 at 9:11 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The South Dakota Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case involving a constitutional amendment legalizing recreational marijuana use in the state.

In November, Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom and South Dakota Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Rick Miller filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the amendment that legalized the cultivation, transport, possession, and sale of marijuana in the state. In January, Governor Kristi Noem issued an executive order saying she directed Miller to file the lawsuit against the amendment that was supported by nearly 54% of South Dakotans voting in November 2020.

The Supreme Court Justices will hear oral arguments in their courtroom on the second floor of the State Capitol Building in Pierre. The public will be able to access audio and video of the arguments on the South Dakota Unified Judicial System website ujs.sd.gov.

In February, Hughes County Sixth Circuit Court Judge Christina Klinger issued a ruling saying Constitutional Amendment A was improper because it contained more than one subject and is a revision to the constitution rather than an amendment, therefore it was passed using an unconstitutional process. Attorneys representing the organization South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws appealed Klinger’s ruling.

Klinger was appointed to the bench by Gov. Noem in February 2019. Noem is a vocal opponent of recreational and medical marijuana legalization.

Thom and Miller say they are defending the protections sought when voters approved Constitutional Amendment Z in 2018, requiring that any constitutional amendment “amend one or more articles and related subject matter in other articles as necessary to accomplish the objectives of the amendment; however, no proposed amendment may embrace more than one subject.”

South Dakota is the first state to legalize recreational and medical marijuana on the same ballot.

Now South Dakotans will wait to hear on a decision from the highest court in the state.

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