South Dakota law enforcement officials are challenging the cannabis legalization measure that passed this last November, and now, more arguments are being filed in the official suit, adding fuel to the fire that is building up against legal cannabis.
This suit was started by Sheriff Kevin Thom of Pennington and Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Rick Miller, who are attempting to declare that all ballots involved with Amendment A, the legal cannabis amendment, are now null and void.
“I’ve dedicated my life to defending and upholding the rule of law,” Thom says in a press release when the suit was first announced. “The South Dakota Constitution is the foundation for our government, and any attempt to modify it should not be taken lightly. I respect the voice of the voters in South Dakota; however, in this case, I believe the process was flawed and done improperly, due to no fault of the voters.”
The suit was filed in the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court in South Dakota, and if it succeeds, it would overturn Amendment A, which only passed by a 54 percent voter margin. The argument is based on the fact that the question of legalization deals with regulations of cannabis for recreational use, as well as the regulation of hemp and medical cannabis, and therefore violates the requirement that amendments can only be on one subject.
Now, the plaintiffs are claiming in the latest court filings that legalizing cannabis could be damaging to the state. However, defendants are claiming that the case was not filed in time, and that those upset about legal cannabis don’t have a leg to stand on.
Governmental Support For The Suit
This suit is being backed by state funds, and many suspect that the governor is on the side of those suing legal cannabis. This is upsetting because of how slim a margin the measure passed by initially, and the fact that this was a major win for advocates, as South Dakota was the first state to legalize medical cannabis and recreational cannabis at the same time.
It remains to be seen whether the suit will go anywhere, but those opposing legalization claim that the amendment goes against the interests of the state and the constitution, still citing the aforementioned “one-subject rule” and claiming that legal recreational cannabis and legal medical cannabis are in fact two subjects.
Additionally, the lawyers supporting Thom, Miller, and the others in the suit are also claiming that the amendment would interfere with the existing 22 provisions in the constitution, as well as how those things can be carried out legally.
While this is upsetting for many who have backed legal cannabis from the beginning, and who were just beginning to celebrate the change to legislation in South Dakota, there is still some hope, as Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg has officially asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit. There are definitely some in power who want to see medical cannabis move forward. Whether or not it will be dismissed or pursued further remains to be seen.