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15 weeks later, still no ‘Amendment A’ decision

The ‘Amendment A’ case has developed into one of the most followed in South Dakota history, given the ramifications that a decision will hold.
Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 6:10 AM CDT
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PIERRE, S.D. - It has been several weeks since the South Dakota Supreme Court heard the ‘Amendment A’ case, regarding the constitutionality of the amendment that would bring legalized marijuana to the state.

Many invested onlookers have become frustrated with what they believe is a legal process that has become far too drawn out.

However, many onlookers with a legal background disagree.

“That same week (as the Amendment A case), I had argued a real property case. It wasn’t constitutional in nature, but that decision is not out yet,” said Former South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley. “I would suggest when you have a case of this magnitude and it deals with the constitution, this is the same single subject rule that came into play very recently, there isn’t a lot of case law on it. It will take a while for a well reasoned decision from the Supreme Court.”

USD Knudson School of Law Dean Neil Fulton agrees, and says that the July 1st enactment date set by Amendment A means nothing when deciding its constitutionality.

“I will be really surprised if this is a unanimous decision,” Fulton suggested. “Either on the result, or how they reach the result. So, if you have a dissenting opinion or separate opinions on the rationale, that takes even longer because they go back and forth between the justices.”

Both Jackley and Fulton agree that it wouldn’t be abnormal or surprising to not see a decision until up to six months after the case was heard in this instance.

“I’ve sometimes told clients when they are anxious to get a decision, we would rather have a well reasoned, well thought out decision that gets it right, rather than a hurried up decision,” Jackley said.

South Dakota Supreme Court decisions are most typically released on Thursday morning, around 8 AM CST/7 AM MST.