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Cannabis group files to defend constitutional amendment

November 25, 2020 GMT

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The group that campaigned to legalize recreational marijuana in South Dakota through a voter-backed constitutional amendment has filed in court to defend the amendment in a legal challenge brought by two law enforcement officers.

The Rapid City Journal reports South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws organized the effort to pass a constitutional amendment legalizing cannabis for adults, as well as providing for its commercial regulation and medical use by minors. The amendment was approved by 54% of voters on Election Day.

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But two law enforcement officers, Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom and Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Rick Miller, have brought a lawsuit arguing the amendment is not legal because it covers more than one subject and should have been handled as a constitutional revision rather than an amendment.

South Dakota taxpayers have found themselves paying for both sides of the legal tussle, with Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg defending the constitutional amendment and Gov. Kristi Noem paying legal fees for Miller.

The pro-cannabis group has asked a judge to allow it to defend the constitutional amendment, arguing that the lawsuit tries to “overturn the will of the voters” using incorrect legal theories. They say the amendment applies to the lone subject of cannabis.