South Dakota Supreme Court hears oral arguments for Amendment A
The South Dakota State Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments for- and- against Amendment A, which would legalize recreational marijuana, Wednesday in Pierre.
PIERRE, S.D. — The South Dakota State Supreme Court heard oral arguments for – and against – Amendment A Wednesday.
Attorneys for Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom and South Dakota Highway Patrol Commander Col. Rick Miller presented their cases against the amendment, which would legalize recreational marijuana in the state.
The law enforcement leaders brought the case to the court on the grounds that the amendment violates the state’s ‘single-subject’ rule.
“Within the 15 sections and 55 subsections of amendment a, there are an array of different subjects and different purposes,” said Lisa Prostrollo, of the Redstone Law Firm. “Any of them can constitute a single subject but combined, they violate the single subject rule, without question.”
Attorneys for the other side refuted the point, saying that the rule is meant to protect South Dakota voters from being fooled or mislead by legislation, which they say isn’t what happened in the election.
“That didn’t apply here in South Dakota,” said Brendan Johnson, of Robins Kaplan LLP Law Firm. “We had a vigorous debate. Probably the most intensely scrutinized piece of legislation in my lifetime, in a generation, that the people ever voted on.”
Johnson went further. Saying that once the proper steps are taken, and the people have voted, what they say – goes.
“Historically and one of the principle bedrocks of democracy is when we have an election, it’s final,” Johnson said. “That is the people’s expectation.”
Representatives for law enforcement leaders fired back, saying that the legislation, which would give the South Dakota Department of Revenue the right to run the program, violates the constitution by essentially creating a fourth branch of government.
“That makes amendment a unlike any other amendments that this state has ever seen and it’s the reason that this court should strike it down today,” Prostrollo said.
There is no word on a timeline for the court to issue its ruling on the matter.