House State Affairs passed the first step in undoing Initiated Measure 26 on Wednesday. The committee heard and approved Speaker Spencer Gosch’s (R-23/Glenham) hoghouse amendment to House Bill 1100, which now does Governor Kristi Noem’s dirty work of delaying the legalization of medical marijuana in South Dakota. 70% of South Dakota voters said in November that they want access to medical marijuana by July 1, but after defeating the voters’ other marijuana measure, Amendment A, in court this month, the Snow Queen said her minions can’t implement medical marijuana laws that fast. HB 1100 thus puts off implementation of medical marijuana for another year, giving the Legislature a whole nother Session to come up with ways to tangle the voters will in red tape, obstructionism, and maybe more courtroom capers.
But hey, I notice that HB 1100 doesn’t just change the implementation dates in IM 26. As I noted last week, HB 1100 as hoghoused out also creates a new pot supercommittee. The Interim Marijuana Committee would get to investigate numerous topics: medical marijuana programs, licensing programs, market regulation and black markets, marijuana cultivation practices, local regulations, taxing schemes…. HB 1100 authorizes this new committee to spend money and present “any recommended legislation” to the Legislature for the 2022 Session.
Boy, HB 1100 appears to embrace a lot of subjects.
Wait… who’s that I hear coming down the hall… Ah, Judge Klinger, what brings you here?
The South Dakota Supreme Court has interpreted Article III, § 21 of the South Dakota Constitution, which contains a single subject rule pertaining to legislative enactments. It states: “No law shall embrace more than one subject, which shall be expressed in the title” [link added; Judge Christina Klinger, opinion, RE: 32CIV20-187: Thom and Miller v. Barnett, 2021.02.08, p. 6].
Hmm… when Judge Klinger read Amendment A and saw mention of civil penalties, professional and occupational licensing, taxation, allocation of revenue, she said the multi-subjecticality of Amendment A was plain and palpable. HB 1100 mentions licensing, taxation, allocation of revenue, implementation dates, licensing systems, farming practices, market analysis, environmental concerns.
Even the title of HB 1100 now stinks of poly-subjectivity: “An Act  to modify the medical marijuana program and  to create an interim committee to recommend implementation of the medical marijuana program.” Modify the program… and create a committee. That’s two subjects. That’s one more subject than Judge Klinger and the Constitution say a law can have.
Uh oh—it sounds like Governor Noem will be compelled by her duty to protect the Constitution of South Dakota to sue the Legislature (or dispatch the Highway Patrol to sue the Legislature) for violating the single-subject rule and demand repeal of her own bill.