(The AEGIS Alliance) – PIERRE, SOUTH DAKOTA – On Monday, a South Dakota judge struck down a voter-approved constitutional amendment that legalized recreational marijuana after Governor Kristi Noem’s administration challenged it.
Circuit Judge Christina Klinger ruled on the measure authorized by voters in November violated the state’s requirement that constitutional amendments deal with only one subject and would have created broad adjustments to state authorities.
“Amendment A is a revision as it has far-reaching effects on the basic nature of South Dakota’s governmental system,” Judge Klinger’s ruling stated.
A sponsor of the amendment, Brendan Johnson who represented a pro-marijuana group in the courtroom, stated it was getting ready to file an appeal in South Dakota’s Supreme Court.
Two law enforcement officers, Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Rick Miller and Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom, sued to block legalization with a challenge to its constitutionality. Miller was successfully acting on behalf of South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, who had opposed the legalization efforts.
Klinger was appointed by Noem in 2019 as a circuit courtroom judge.
“Today’s decision protects and safeguards our constitution,” Noem mentioned in a press release.
“I’m confident that if the South Dakota Supreme Court is asked to weigh in as well, it will come to the same conclusion.”
Thom also praised the ruling, saying it “solidifies the protections” of a 2018 constitutional amendment that required additional amendments to stay to at least one topic.
In her ruling, Klinger stated that marijuana legalization would have touched on business licensing, taxation, and cannabis cultivation. The amendment would have given the state’s Department of Revenue power to manage recreational marijuana, however, Klinger ruled that by doing so, it overstepped the authority of the government executive and legislative branches.
Lawyers defending legalization had cast the lawsuit as an effort to overturn the results of a good election. About 54% of voters approved recreational marijuana last November.
Possessing small quantities of marijuana would have developed into legalization on July 1, however, that won’t occur until a higher courtroom overturns the ruling.
Marijuana has grown to be broadly accepted throughout the United States, with a Gallup Poll in November showing 68% of Americans favored legalization. South Dakota was amongst 4 states that month to approve recreational marijuana, together with New Jersey, Arizona, and Montana. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have achieved it so far.
Supporters have argued that legalization creates jobs and raises tax revenue for governments that badly need it. Opponents have argued that marijuana leads to use of harder drugs, and may additionally result in extra impaired driving cases and different crimes. But, supporters know about the fact that marijuana is mostly not a gateway drug, and that alcohol and cigarettes are the real gateways, also how there are far more driving incidents involving alcohol than there are with marijuana.
When someone gets a DUI and had been using marijuana, it’s still partially marked down as pot-related even if the person was drunk or high on hard drugs at the time, and it’s still included in national and state DUI statistics.
This ruling should have been made before voters decided on the amendment, officials had plenty of time to do this but only decided to do so now that the amendment has passed. Judge Christina Klinger has successfully overturned the will of the voters, which is federally unconstitutional.
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.