SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota supporters of recreational marijuana were warned not to move forward with Amendment A more than a year before a judge ruled it was void.
In a letter filed with the Secretary of State’s office, the director of the Legislative Research Council, specifically outlines the process to get a measure on the ballot and the recommendation they were suppose to follow, but didn’t.
Just like supporters of any amendment or ballot measure, the group behind Amendment A, to legalize recreational marijuana, submitted the text to the Legislative Research Council back in 2019.
They are required to do that before gathering signatures to minimize any conflicts with existing laws.
It’s the LRC’s job then to provide guidance.
When the LRC responded to Amendment A supporters in May of 2019, the LRC recommended the proposal be re-written so that it would amend South Dakota law rather than the constitution.
After 54% of the voters approved Amendment A, a lawsuit was filed in court to stop it.
This week a circuit judge decided that Amendment A is unconstitutional because it has “multiple subjects” and it needed to go to voters via a constitutional convention process.
Supporters of Amendment A say they will appeal the decision to the South Dakota Supreme Court.
Last night, the Dean of USD’s Knudson School of Law, Neil Fulton, told us you’re going to hear a lot about recreational marijuana for months to come.
“Even if the Supreme Court affirms this ruling, I would fully expect that you’re going to see the majority of voters, who supported Amendment A, come back with either a new constitutional amendment or a new initiative, it does really appear there is political will behind this issue in South Dakota, so the ruling on Amendment A, regardless of what it is in the end from the Supreme Court, probably isn’t the last word on generally legalized marijuana in South Dakota,” Fulton said.
Brendan Johnson, who sponsored the amendment and represented the pro-marijuana group in court, has declined our requests for interviews.
But in a statement he said he was preparing an appeal to South Dakota’s Supreme Court.