South Dakota Supreme Court Hears Recreational Marijuana Appeal

The South Dakota Supreme Court heard arguments for and against Amendment A in Pierre on Wednesday. Voters last November approved Amendment A, which legalizes recreational marijuana for people over age 21 and gives the power of regulation to the South Dakota Department of Revenue.

In February, a Circuit Judge ruled in favor of those trying to stop Amendment A, and supporters are appealing to the state’s highest court. At the heart of the lawsuit is whether the amendment comprises more than a single subject, which it cannot, and whether the amendment is considered to be an amendment or a revision to the South Dakota Constitution.

The Supreme Court justices asked questions of both attorneys during the hour-long hearing on Wednesday. It is unknown as to when a decision will be handed down.

On a related note, the South Dakota Department of Health (DOH) on Monday issued a request for proposal for a statewide patient registry, verification and licensing system to be used in the implementation of the medical marijuana program. 

Pursuant to SDCL 34-20G, DOH is responsible for implementing a secure web-based patient verification system by Oct. 29, 2021, and a patient registry system by Nov. 18, 2021. These systems are necessary to ensure that patients and caregivers can be accurately identified and to ensure that only verified patients and caregivers have access to medical marijuana.

The patient verification system will also ensure that South Dakota law enforcement officials have the necessary tools to accurately identify medical marijuana patients/caregivers they may encounter. Additionally, a state licensing system will be used to accept applications for medical marijuana establishments and will facilitate multi-jurisdictional collaboration in compliance with state law. Read more

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