PIERRE, S.D.(DRGNews)- The South Dakota Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday morning at 10am in the case involving a constitutional amendment legalizing recreational marijuana use in the state for adults 21 years and older.
In November, Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom (tom) and South Dakota Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Rick Miller filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the amendment that legalized the cultivation, transport, possession and sale of marijuana in the state. In January, Governor Kristi Noem issued an executive order (Jan. 8, 2021) saying she directed Miller to file the lawsuit against the amendment that was supported by nearly 54% of South Dakotans voting in November 2020.
The Supreme Court Justices will hear oral arguments in their courtroom on the second floor of the State Capitol Building in Pierre. The public will be able to access audio and video of the arguments on the South Dakota Unified Judicial System website ujs.sd.gov (or on keloland.com).
In February Hughes County Sixth Circuit Court Judge Christina Klinger issued a ruling saying Constitutional Amendment A was improper because it contained more than one subject and is a revision to the constitution rather than an amendment, therefore it was passed using an unconstitutional process. Attorneys representing the organization South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws appealed Klinger’s ruling.
Klinger was appointed to the bench by Gov. Noem in February 2019. Noem is a vocal opponent of recreational and medical marijuana legalization.
Seating in the courtroom will be limited and available on a first-come first-serve basis. Masks are required. There will be overflow seating in Room 414 of the State Capitol where the proceeding will be live-streamed.
Thom and Miller say they are defending the protections sought when voters approved Constitutional Amendment Z in 2018, requiring that any constitutional amendment “amend one or more articles and related subject matter in other articles as necessary to accomplish the objectives of the amendment; however, no proposed amendment may embrace more than one subject.”
South Dakota is the first state to legalize recreational and medical marijuana on the same ballot.