PIERRE, SD (KELO) – Prosecutors defending Amendment A against a lawsuit by the governor of South Dakota now argue that there is a “high probability” that legalizing recreational marijuana will harm the black market for cannabis.
But private lawyers for the two law enforcement officers who act as the governor’s front men counter that voters may have been so interested in getting some parts of A goodbye that they accepted other parts they didn’t want.
The judge Christina Klinger will hear arguments in Pierre on January 27th.
Highway Patrol Superintendent Rick Miller and Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom want the judge to turn the November 3 election results upside down. You are acting for Governor Kristi Noem.
Her lawyers argue that A was a revision of the South Dakota Constitution rather than an amendment and should therefore have been subject to a constitutional convention prior to voting. They also claim it violated the one-subject rule approved by voters two years earlier.
“Amendment A is an unprecedented and unlawful attempt to change the fundamental document of our state,” wrote Lisa Prostrollo, partner at Redstone law firm in Sioux Falls, on a file filed Jan. 8. “Amendment A was the first multi-part constitutional amendment put into the vote since voters introduced the one-topic rule by ratifying Amendment Z in 2018.”
Prostrollo continued, “It would also be the first time an entirely new article of the Constitution has been drawn up through a secret drafting process and without the transparency, public input and legislative debate that a constitutional convention requires.”
The other partner at Redstone is Matt McCaulley, a former lawmaker who now works as a legislative lobbyist. Redstone has contracts to represent Governor Noem and the state government. Noem’s chief of staff, Attorney Tony Venhuizen, was previously with Redstone.
Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, on the other hand, didn’t put his name on defensive arguments. Ravnsborg is under investigation for beating and killing a pedestrian, Joe Boever, with his car on the western edge of Highmore on the night of September 12th. Ravnsborg claims he did not commit a crime.
With South Dakota electing its attorney general, Noem cannot remove Ravnsborg from office.
The assistant attorneys general defending A are Grant Flynn and Matt Templar. In their January 8 registration, they wrote: “This campaign is nothing more than candidates trying to avenge their loss at the ballot box instead of accepting that democracy has taken place.”
They argue that A was not a constitutional revision because it “does not represent a fundamental change to the constitution in relation to the basic governance framework of the state”. Instead, they claim that A created a “well-regulated market” for cannabis.
“If there wasn’t a well-regulated market, the sale and use of cannabis would be at the mercy of the existing black market for cannabis. That would endanger the health, welfare and safety of all South Dakotans, ”they wrote.
They continued, “If there is a well-regulated market for the sale of cannabis, there is a good chance that the dangers of the cannabis black market can be reduced. Citizens can get their cannabis and cannabis products from safe and trusted sources. Just as they can get their food from safe and trustworthy sources. “
Belle Fourche attorney Bob Morris filed an affidavit on behalf of Sheriff Thom that the decriminalization of marijuana summarizes many law enforcement challenges including road safety. The affidavit found that, unlike alcohol, there is no testing mechanism by which to measure the level of marijuana in a driver’s bloodstream.
Prostrollo added: “Given the multitude of subjects contained in Amendment A, it is likely that voters who requested one provision of Amendment A tacitly accepted other provisions they disliked. This is exactly the evil that South Dakota voters wanted to prevent when they ratified Amendment Z. “
The third group in this case are interveners, brought together by Brendan Johnson, attorney for Sioux Falls and a former US attorney for South Dakota. Johnson, now a member of Robins Kaplan law firm, has sponsored A. Timothy Billion, another attorney for Robin’s chaplain, is acting as the intervener.
One of the arguments that Billion makes on behalf of the interveners is that the judicial officers who participated in the election admitted that the legislature could have done what A does: “This admission is fatal to the remaining persuasive value of their argument – if that People act through an initiative, they exercise their legislative power on an equal footing with the legislature itself. “
The Deputy Prosecutors General Flynn and Templer confronted the interveners on another point and disagreed with the interveners’ allegation that constitutionality must be established before the election. “This claim, however, ignores the Supreme Court ruling that South Dakota courts have no jurisdiction to prevent a constitutional amendment from being presented to voters,” wrote Flynn and Templar.