Judge Voids South Dakota’s Marijuana Legalization Initiative, Finding Voter-Approved Measure Was Unconstitutional

MJ moment

A South Dakota state judge has ruled that last year’s voter-approved initiative to legalize marijuana for adults 21 and over is unconstitutional and cannot go forward, though advocates plan to appeal. Judge Christina Klinger of the state’s Sixth Judicial Circuit Court ruled Monday that the measure, Amendment A, includes multiple subjects rather than a single issue as required by the state constitution. She also wrote that because the measure “has far reaching effects on the basic nature of South Dakota’s governmental system,” it should have been referred to voters through the constitutional convention process instead of as a simple amendment. “The failure to submit Amendment A through the proper constitutional process voids the amendment,” Klinger wrote in Monday’s ruling, “and it has no effect.” Brendan Johnson, sponsor of Amendment A and an attorney for South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, told Marijuana Moment after the ruling that reform advocates will appeal Klinger’s ruling to the state’s highest court. “We disagree with the ruling,” said Johnson, a former U.S. attorney for South Dakota, “and we are preparing our appeal to the South Dakota Supreme Court.” For now the decision is a win for the law enforcement leaders who filed the challenge. The lawsuit has the backing of Gov. Kristi Noem (R), who has said that voters made “the wrong choice” by legalizing marijuana. More than 54 percent of voters approved the change last November. “I am pleased with the court’s decision today, though I realize that the Supreme Court will likely have the opportunity to address our constitutional concerns on their merits,” state Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Rick Miller, who filed the lawsuit with Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom, said in a statement Monday. Amendment A was set to take effect July 1. If it survives the court challenge, it will…

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Source : Judge Voids South Dakota’s Marijuana Legalization Initiative, Finding Voter-Approved Measure Was Unconstitutional

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