South Dakota Voters Said Yes to Legalizing Marijuana. But a Judge Ruled It’s Unconstitutional.


When it came time to cast their ballots, more than 54 percent of South Dakota voters took to the polls in November in favor of a constitutional amendment to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

But on Monday, a South Dakota circuit judge appointed by Gov. Kristi L. Noem (R) rejected that change, arguing that it would have “far-reaching effects on the basic nature” of the state’s government to the point of being unconstitutional.

Judge Christina Klinger’s ruling sets up what is likely to be an increasingly contentious legal battle over the state’s Amendment A, which allows residents to grow, license and sell cannabis.

Brendan Johnson, a lawyer who represents South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, the group that put the measure on the ballot, told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader that he planned to appeal the ruling to state Supreme Court.

The group’s measure is part of a broader nationwide push toward the decriminalization of marijuana, as shifting attitudes in the United States about drug use — and cannabis in particular — have heralded a rapid turnover in the legality of the drug across the country. [Read More @ The Washington Post]

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