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No IM 24: Judge Rejects Medical Cannabis Petition

The good news is that I don’t have to reprint my campaign cards to add an eleventh ballot measure. The bad news is that we don’t get an eleventh ballot measure. Melissa Mentele reports that the Sixth Circuit Court has ruled in favor of the state and has upheld Secretary of State Shantel Krebs’s rejection of Mentele’s initiative petition to put medical cannabis to a public vote:

Our case has been heard in the circuit court. The judge has ruled in the favor of the Secretary of State. We thank you for all of you positive thoughts, love and prayers. We are currently regrouping and will post when we have more information [New Approach South Dakota, Facebook post, 2016.08.09].

The hearing started at 9 a.m. this morning; Mentele posted the above note at about ten ’til noon. That relatively swift decision suggests that the judge accepted the state’s arguments on face and did not see any reason to review the petition and the voter registration status of the over 16,000 signers. I’ll post more information on the ruling as it becomes available.


  1. Jerry 2016-08-09 13:13

    Why would anyone be shocked at this? From a state that refuses to provide the human dignity of healthcare for the poor and needy, it is all in a day’s work here. If you suffer in South Dakota from health issues here, it sucks to be you. No soup for you!

  2. Kris 2016-08-09 13:23

    dude no way!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Craig 2016-08-09 16:21

    Jerry you can’t blame the state when they simply didn’t have enough signatures. They have no one to blame but themselves.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-09 19:52

    Jerry, I’ll second Craig’s restraint. I don’t imagine Judge Barnett has much sympathy for anything related to marijuana (though I welcome evidence to the contrary), but the argument before the court was not about the merits of medical cannabis. The argument before the court was about the technicalities of circulating and validating ballot question petitions. I think Mentele can make the argument that, under law, her 16,000-plus-signature petition has enough signatures to justify being placed on the ballot. But apparently in court today, Mentele wasn’t able to make that argument persuasively enough.

    And as I understand it, at no point in court today did the plaintiff produce a list of 13,871 registered voters who had signed her petition. As Craig says, no other legal argument is going to make up for a lack of signatures. It is possible that the plaintiff could have won every argument of fact today and still not have won the argument of law about an obligation for the Secretary of State to validate the petition in question absent a demonstration of the validity of 13,871 signatures.

  5. barry freed 2016-08-10 07:51

    “the judge did not see any reason to review the petition and the voter registration status of the over 16,000 signers”

    South Dakota justice: no reason to look at both sides of an argument.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-11 07:23

    Barry, both sides appeared. Both sides were heard. As I understand it, the petitioners on Tuesday did not offer evidence that there were 13,871 valid signatures on the petition.

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