Hearing date set for Amendment A case in S.D. Supreme Court

Capitol News Bureau
KELO gavel law court

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Supreme Court later this month will hear the oral argument by the two competing sides on whether the decision made by voters legalizing marijuana for people age 21 and older should stand or be overturned.

The justices will listen to the lawyers Wednesday, April 28, at 10 a.m. CT in the Supreme Court courtroom at the state Capitol.

Circuit Judge Christina Klinger ruled the November 3 election result was invalid. The judge gave two reasons. She said Amendment A illegally dealt with more than one subject. She also said it was a constitutional revision, rather than an amendment, and therefore should have gone to a state constitutional convention before reaching the ballot.

South Dakota voters approved the amendment with a 54 percent majority. Governor Kristi Noem campaigned against its passage. Then the Republican governor secretly directed state Highway Patrol Superintendent Rick Miller to challenge it in court. Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom joined Miller in the lawsuit. Noem appointed Klinger as a circuit judge in 2019.

The amendment’s sponsor is Brendan Johnson of Sioux Falls, a former U.S. attorney for the district of South Dakota and a son of former U.S. Senator Tim Johnson, a Democrat.

Voters also approved Initiated Measure 26 legalizing medical marijuana in South Dakota with a nearly 70 percent majority. It takes effect July 1. Noem tried unsuccessfully to delay its implementation until next year. She wants a special session in May or early June to try again to make changes.

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