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Noem issues order to direct lawsuit against recreational pot

January 8, 2021 GMT

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem issued an executive order Friday to officially direct a lawsuit challenging a voter-approved constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana.

The order ensures that Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Rick Miller has legal standing to sue in an effort to overturn the constitutional amendment because he was acting on behalf of the Republican governor. Lawyers defending the constitutional amendment had argued Miller did not have legal standing and asked a South Dakota judge to dismiss the case.

Noem had opposed measures to legalize marijuana, but voters in November passed a pair of measures legalizing recreational and medical pot. The constitutional amendment that legalized recreational pot passed with 54% of the vote. It also legalized medical marijuana and hemp.

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But Miller, along with Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom, are arguing the amendment violates the state constitution by not following rules that constitutional amendments address a single subject. Broader revisions to the state constitution need to be approved through a constitutional convention.

Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg’s office and a group of citizens who spearheaded the campaigns backed by pro-marijuana groups are defending the constitutional amendment that would go into effect on July 1. They argue the amendment deals with one subject: Cannabis.