Amendment A decision not coming before July 1

Marijuana in South Dakota
Marijuana in South Dakota(Dakota News Now)
Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 11:28 AM CDT
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PIERRE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - South Dakotans will have to wait a little longer before learning the results of a state Supreme Court case involving recreational marijuana.

State Court Administrator Greg Sattizahn confirmed Thursday that the South Dakota Supreme Court will not issue a ruling on the Amendment A case before July 1. In the meantime, recreational marijuana will remain illegal in the state.

Amendment A is a voter-approved ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana in South Dakota. It was scheduled to take effect July 1, 2021.

Two state law enforcement officers filed a lawsuit challenging the measure at the behest of Gov. Kristi Noem, who has long opposed marijuana legalization. In February, a Hughes County judge ruled the measure is unconstitutional. Recreational marijuana advocates filed an appeal to the South Dakota Supreme Court. Justices heard arguments on the case on April 27.

Anticipation over a ruling in the case has built as the state approaches the July 1 implementation date. State Rep. Hugh Bartels of Watertown recently said he anticipated the Supreme Court would issue a ruling on Thursday, June 24.

Thursday’s announcement means the state will have to wait at least another week before hearing the court’s decision. Sattizahn said until the court issues an opinion, the ruling of the circuit court declaring Amendment A unconstitutional remains in effect.

This case does not affect medical marijuana, which was approved by voters in a separate ballot measure last fall. Medical marijuana will become legal in South Dakota as of July 1, though state officials say they will likely not be ready to distribute medical marijuana cards until the fall.

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