Arguments on Amendment A Unfold in Front of South Dakota Supreme Court

Cannabtimes

<![CDATA[Adult-use cannabis legalization remains uncertain in South Dakota, where the state’s Supreme Court heard arguments April 28 on the constitutionality of a voter-approved amendment from the November 2020 election. The court’s hearing stems from a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Amendment A, which passed with a 54.2% majority. The ballot measure read: “An amendment to the South Dakota Constitution to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana; and to require the legislature to pass laws regarding hemp as well as laws ensuring access to marijuana for medical use.”The plaintiffs in that case argued that the measure violates the state’s one-subject rule and does not simply amend the state constitution but, rather, revises the constitution. Therefore, the revision would require a constitutional convention to be called for by a three-fourths vote of members from both chambers of the state legislature. The defendants, who represent South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, the group behind Amendment A, argued the measure contains one subject—cannabis—to which all provisions are essentially related. In addition, they argued the state constitution’s definitions of “amendment” and “revision” are permissive, not obligatory. Keloland | keloland.comAttorney Brendan Johnson argues in front of the South Dakota Supreme Court on Wednesday. During the hearing in front of the five South Dakota Supreme Court justices on April 28, Brendan Johnson, an attorney in support of Amendment A, argued the state’s one-subject rule as it has been applied by the high court has historically serviced as a shield, not as a sword, he said. “It is designed to shield the people from legislation, from crafty legislators, who before the legislation passes, they’ll insert … something that the people weren’t expecting,” Johnson said. “They would have no reason to expect that this could happen. That has been the purpose of this single-subject. Same when it comes to amendments.“Is there something in…

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