A South Dakota circuit judge has rejected an amendment that was approved by voters in the state during the November polls, ruling it as unconstitutional. The judge, who had been appointed by South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem, stated that the change, which would end cannabis prohibition in the state, should not proceed.
Judge Christina Klinger supported her ruling by stating that Constitutional Amendment A violated the state’s constitution as it conflicted with the constitution’s language, in addition to defying single subject rule.
Pennington County Sheriff Kein Thom and the South Dakota Highway Patrol Superintendent Rick Miller, as well as attorneys for the case’s plaintiffs, argued in January that Constitutional Amendment A ought to be viewed as a revision instead of an amendment because it did not modify an existing clause in the state’s constitution but added a completely new section to the constitution of the state.
Klinger, however, stated that a failure to present Constitutional Amendment A through the proper process as cited in the constitution not only had no effect but also nullified the amendment.
Amendment A, which was approved by voters in the November 2020 election, would have legalized all forms of cannabis in addition to legalizing the growing, sale and licensing of cannabis in the state. The measure was approved with a margin of 8% and was to go into effect on July 1 this year.
Noem, who opposed the ballot initiative, ordered that the legal fees for the role Miller played in challenging the measure be paid for by the state.
Many expect that the decision will be appealed to the South Dakota Supreme Court.
The Attorney General’s office chief of staff Tim Bormann stated that the office, which was charged constitutionally with defending any ballot initiatives that were approved by voters in court, was currently reviewing the judge’s decision but declined to give any further commentary, adding that the office was treating this as an ongoing case.
The group that had placed the initiative on the voters’ ballot, Representing South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, also gave its opinion on the judge’s decision. Brendan Johnson, who represents the group, stated that it disagreed with the judge’s ruling and would be appealing to the state’s Supreme Court.
Noem applauded the court’s ruling, stating that she expected an appeal on the judge’s ruling to have similar results. In a statement sent to a news outlet, she noted that the decision made by the judge protected and safeguarded the South Dakota state constitution, adding that she was confident that the state’s Supreme Court would came to a similar conclusion.
While South Dakota is still working to legalize cannabis, plenty of companies are thriving in jurisdictions with legal marijuana markets. For instance, Pure Extracts Technologies Corp. (CSE: PULL) (OTC: PRXTF) based in Canada has a vertical engaged in white labelling because its reputation commands customer interest, especially for edibles and oils.
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