Legalization

Attorney General Will Not Appeal Rejection of Legalized Marijuana in South Dakota

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After a landslide win for cannabis this election, hope for recreational marijuana in South Dakota is becoming less certain.

The state’s attorney general says his office will not participate in the appeal of a ruling that recently struck down the constitutional amendment legalizing recreational marijuana this November. The Amendment, titled “Amendment A,” was supported by 54% of South Dakotan voters this election.

Circuit Judge Christina Klinger ruled earlier this week that the measure approved by voters in November violated the state’s requirement that constitutional amendments deal with just one subject and it would have created broad changes to state government.

Gov. Kristi Noem’s administration had challenged the measure, which legalized small amounts of recreational marijuana, medical marijuana and hemp.

The Argus Leader reported Friday that Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg is obligated to defend state laws when they are challenged in court. But office spokesman Timothy Bormann said Ravnsborg concluded his office fulfilled its obligation and doesn’t have to participate in an appeal to the South Dakota Supreme Court.

Melissa Mentele, executive director of New Approach South Dakota, which supported Amendment A in last year’s election, said her group is prepared to appeal.

Mentele said Ravnsborg abdicated his responsibility to represent South Dakotans. “Simply put, he has decided to stop doing his job. The Attorney General’s decision is difficult to understand given that he previously argued in court that Amendment A is completely lawful.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.