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Substance Abuse

USA – South Dakota voters said yes to legalizing marijuana. But a judge ruled it’s unconstitutional.

In November last year, 54% of South Dakota voters took to the polls in favour of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Judge Christina Klinger however, ruled against it and rejected the change arguing that violates the state Constitution on two grounds: It violates the single subject rule, meaning it encompassed more than one topic, and it conflicts with language in the Constitution that provides for its modification. Revisions to the constitution require a convention of state delegates before being placed on the ballot and cannot be done through the petition process, like initiated measures and amendments. “The failure to submit Amendment A through the proper constitutional process voids the amendment and it has no effect,” Klinger said.

Besides South Dakota, three other states — Arizona, New Jersey and Montana — voted in November to legalize recreational marijuana, while Mississippi legalized medical uses of the drug. In December, the House of Representatives voted to pass a bill that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, though it is unclear how the bill might fare in a split Senate. Oregon went a step further and decriminalized possession of hard drugs. More, Oregon.