Both sides react to the Supreme Court ruling on recreational marijuana

South Dakota Marijuana

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – South Dakotans will have to wait even longer for recreational marijuana to become legal. Wednesday the state Supreme Court ruled against Amendment A.

54-percent of voters approved legalizing recreational marijuana last year. However, the justices said Amendment A asked voters to legalize three different things: recreational marijuana, medical marijuana and hemp. Under the South Dakota Constitution, an amendment can only have one subject.

Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom brought forward the lawsuit against Amendment A with Colonel Rick Miller, the Superintendent of the South Dakota Highway Patrol.

“Some people said I was overturning the will of the voters, I feel the opposite was the case,” Thom said. “I was upholding the will of the voters and our Constitution because in 2018, in Amendment Z, South Dakota said we want one subject, one topic, per amendment and that’s exactly what this lawsuit was about.”

But, the lawsuit and the Supreme Court ruling have left advocates of recreational marijuana frustrated.

“All it said was, by a future date, the Legislature should pass laws on medical marijuana and hemp, the rest of the initiative was all about recreational,” Matthew Schweich, campaign director of South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, said. “And we think it’s disrespectful for this ruling to essentially say that voters can’t understand an initiative. We think they can, and they did.”

Sheriff Thom wants the state to get its medical marijuana program underway before taking on recreational.

“Medical marijuana is here to stay. It’s being implemented and we should understand that and get it implemented,” Thom said. “And if we want to have discussion about recreational or legalized marijuana, you know, we can have that discussion. If people want to put it on the ballot and vote it up or down, then we’ll respect the will of the voters of South Dakota on that issue as long as it’s a clean ballot measure.”

This isn’t the last time South Dakotans will hear about recreational marijuana. Some lawmakers have come up with a proposed plan to bring adult-use marijuana to the floor this legislative session. If nothing is passed through lawmakers, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws is ready to introduce a new initiative to the ballot in 2022.

“I’ve heard from a lot of people over the past several months that have expressed a belief that their votes don’t count and that the system is totally broken. I’ve heard people say, ‘I’m not voting again,'” Schweich said. “And I think that’s one of the costs of this litigation and the delay in issuing a ruling. It has undermined the public’s faith in their system of government.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Continuing The Conversation
See Full Weather Forecast

Trending Stories

Don't Miss!

More Don't Miss