Drugs

South Dakota's Governor Blocks Voters on Legal Pot

Though voters simultaneously approved initiatives aimed at legalizing both recreational and medical use of marijuana, Amendment A got quickly tied up in court.

|

South Dakota voters made history in 2020 by simultaneously approving ballot initiatives aimed at legalizing recreational and medical use of marijuana. The success of the broader initiative, Amendment A, was especially striking because it prevailed by an eight-point margin in a state that is mostly Republican and largely conservative.

Thanks to a legal challenge backed by Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, however, Amendment A was immediately tied up in litigation. Last fall the South Dakota Supreme Court definitively overturned it, ruling that the measure violated the "single subject" rule for constitutional amendments.

The court's 4–1 decision did not affect Measure 26, which authorizes medical use of marijuana. But unless the state legislature independently implements the policy embodied in Amendment A, the ruling means supporters of recreational legalization will have to try again in 2022 with an initiative that addresses the legal objections.

The court accepted that most of Amendment A addressed a single subject: the legalization of recreational marijuana for adults 21 or older. But it held that provisions instructing the legislature to authorize medical use of marijuana and cultivation of industrial hemp addressed two additional subjects.

The court concluded that the law enforcement officials who originally challenged Amendment A did not have standing to sue. But it said Noem, who "ratified the commencement of this lawsuit" via an executive order, did have standing as governor. Noem's blessing therefore was crucial to the lawsuit's success.

Noem's determination to block Amendment A seemed to be driven more by her anti-pot prejudices than by her commitment to upholding the abstruse rules governing amendments to the state constitution. State legislators proved more willing to set aside their personal views on marijuana in deference to the policy preferred by voters.

"In my mind, [legalization is] inevitable because we've already seen the support from the public," South Dakota Senate Majority Leader Gary Cammack (R–Butte) said in February 2021. "I didn't vote for recreational marijuana, but my constituents did," added state Rep. Greg Jamison (R–Lincoln). "Rarely do we get a chance to enact a law and….for sure know what our constituents think of that. Here we know."

In response to such comments from members of her own party, Noem threatened to veto any legalization bill the legislature might pass. She later suggested she might be open to decriminalizing low-level marijuana possession.

Noem, who is up for reelection this year, seemed unfazed by an October poll indicating that most voters disapproved of her interference with legalization. In January, her spokesman said Amendment A's backers should reimburse the state for the legal costs it incurred to overturn the initiative.

NEXT: Brickbat: Spread 'Em

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. "Thanks to a legal challenge backed by Republican Gov. Kristi Noem"

    Ugh. She's terrible.

    And I don't understand why people say she's attractive either. You want an example of a beautiful woman who won a Governor's election? Stacey Abrams.

    #ThinnessIsOverrated

    1. Beauty s only skin deep. Ugly (or many sorts) goes all the way to the bone.

      1. "of".

        Edit feature, please.

        1. I make 85 dollars each hour for working an online job at home. ALK04 I never thought I could do it but qwe06 my best friend makes 10000 bucks every month working this job and she recommended me to learn more about it. The potential with this is endless.

          For more detail.......... http://CurrentJobs64.Cf

    2. If you want an attractive politician who is on the correct side of the pot debate, check out Nancy Mace.

    3. Why are her looks relevant at all?

  2. Damn, dirty, fascist Democrats hate freedom.

    1. Going to threaten her too now?

      sarcasmic
      March.28.2022 at 8:05 am
      Flag Comment Mute User
      If you said that to me in public, and I put your internet-tuff-gai-ass in the hospital, the cops would laugh at you when you tried to press charges.

      And no threat wasn't against me but laughed my ass off of your exchange of ideas.

      1. Hilarious considering that the pathetic cowardly little faggot bitch cocksucker has challenged others and been challenged by others to fisticuffs in this comment section dozens of times, and so far the closest he's ever come to accepting the challenge after running his mouth was trying to get Tulpa to blow him in the bathroom of a Ministry concert.

    2. So, we agree.

  3. Of course Jacob the liar doesn't give a shit that the amendment did in fact violate the State Constitution because rules only matter when they can be leveraged to get what he wants like any good prog NPC.

    1. Exactly. Fix the damn amendment and put it on the ballot again. How hard can that be? It passed once, it should again unless there was some deceit involved.

      1. How hard can it be?

        See Charlie Brown, Lucy, and fotball.

    2. Which fact Governor Drug Warrior doesn’t give a shit about either. She’s just gotta be telling people what they can and can’t do.

      If only we had a viable political party that actually believed in freedom.

      1. "a viable political party that actually believed in freedom"

        Is that even possible?

      2. Or the governor makes an EO or the legislature just signs the exact same verbiage into law themselves.

        Lot of avenues but apparently just blocking it and saying "tough shit" is the freedom loving way.

        1. Libertarians for governance by arbitrary executive rule making!

          What happens in Libertopia when the next governor just rescinds the executive rule, shreek? Same thing that happens to entire comment sections after you post child porn?

          1. She was better on the pandemic than just about every other state governor.

            Don't give her a free pass for being a Drug Warrior on a technicality.

  4. If the citizens approved a new amendment that legalized dope and also told the governor to fuck off, would that also violate the single subject rule?

    Perhaps best to get separate initiatives on the ballot.

    1. If they do it that way, there's nothing she could say.

  5. her spokesman said Amendment A's backers should reimburse the state for the legal costs it incurred to overturn the initiative.

    That might set a very interesting precedent. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

    1. Also, way to turn the "asshole" dial all the way up to eleven.

  6. Some people go into politics for the graft and the power. Others, like Noem, went into politics because they were True(tm) Believers with a burr up their butt. In Noem's case, she's determined to save the world from ditch weed.

    Let me guess, she's the splitting image of Dolores Umbridge?

    1. "Save the world" politicians?

      So like every progressive and most Democrats?

      1. THAT'S TOTALLY DIFFERENT! MASK UP! WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER! SLAVA UKRAINI!

      2. So, like every progressive, most Republican and most Democrats?
        There FIFY.

        One of the consequences of our divided political system is politicians in positions of power just using brute force to get their way. People pass a referendum, just ignore it. Use the "letter of the law" to thwart the "spirit of the law". This case is just one of many examples.

        1. Amazing how Republicans can morph from bought and paid for corporate pigs who live for no other purpose than to rape the environment and exploit the workers right into idealistic pie-in-the-sky true believers when you need to trot out some BOAF SIDEZ whataboutism, eh kiddie fucker?

          1. What I am suggesting is that not about both sides, but rather the fact that those at the extremes, left or right often want to get their way moved forward and don't care how that it is accomplished. My belief is that those in the middle realize that getting to a goal requires working within both the spirit and the letter of the law.

  7. >>approving ballot initiatives aimed at legalizing recreational and medical use of marijuana.

    she can't veto them not arresting people for possession.

    1. Yes, selective enforcement of laws is always a winning strategy that will certainly never lead to bad outcomes like, say, lawless "autonomous zones" in the middle of metropolitan cities where murders are committed with impunity while the cops stand around fingering their pricks.

      1. autonomous zones because a dude didn't goto jail over a Z.

        1. Is English your first language you dumbfuck? Autonomous zones because politicians decide not to enforce the laws they don't like. I hope you get exactly what you want. Good and hard. In your state. I'm sure the fact that the gangbanger who shoots you in the face for the 200 bucks in your wallet and walks away with impunity was able to smoke a J without getting hassled by The Man because the governor and mayor are SJW pieces of shit who only enforce the laws they like will be a comforting last thought for you.

          1. there's a little box you can buy now that separates your meds by day.

      2. If the governor refrains from enforcing bad laws, he or she just saves the jury the trouble of nullifying the charges.

        1. And then instead of a nation of laws, you have a nation of men. But hey, at least then you don't have to actually get off your ass and serve on a jury to see that justice is done. Good luck with that.

  8. Did Sullum smoke himself stupid and just now realize that this happened 2 years later?

    Noem's a cunt about weed, but that doesn't change the fact that you smoothbrain retards couldn't be fucked to pay a sober midwit attorney 500 bucks to make sure your ballot initiative was legal.

  9. South Carolina's governor needs to be pounded into submission.

    From behind.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.