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Lawsuit filed challenging Amendment A

A lawsuit has been filed in state court challenging Amendment A, passed by voters in early November, which legalizes recreational marijuana. The amendment passed Nov. 3rd with 54.18 percent of the vote.


The lawsuit has been filed in Hughes County and the plaintiffs in this case are Pennington county sheriff Kevin Thom and South Dakota Highway Patrol Col. Rick Miller. According to Thom the lawsuit covers two issues, alleging it violates the state's one-subject rule which voters approved two years ago, while the second issue claims the amendment itself does not in fact amend the constitution.   


“I’ve dedicated my life to defending and upholding the rule of law,” said Sheriff Thom. “The South Dakota Constitution is the foundation for our government and any attempt to modify it should not be taken lightly. I respect the voice of the voters in South Dakota, however In this case I believe the process was flawed and done improperly, due to no fault of the voters.”


“Our constitutional amendment procedure is very straightforward,” said Col. Rick Miller. “In this case, the group bringing Amendment A unconstitutionally abused the initiative process. We’re confident that the courts will safeguard the South Dakota Constitution and the rule of law.”


The lawsuit intial comment was signed by Judge Christian Klinger who was appointed by Gov. Kristi Noem in February 2019.  It was filed by attorney Robert Morris of Belle Fourche and attorney Matt McCaulley of Sioux Falls.  McCaulley led the Noem transition team in 2018 and is often reported as one of the governor's most trusted advisors according to South Dakota Public Broadcasting.


Governor Noem has released the following statement on the lawsuit: “In South Dakota, we respect our Constitution. I look forward to the court addressing the serious constitutional concerns laid out in this lawsuit.”