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Marijuana Advocates Do Have Single-Subject Repeal Initiative; Time Running Short to Circulate Petition!

I’m not sure who’s dragging their feet in Pierre, but after I complained on September 14 that marijuana advocates appeared to have backed away from their promise to challenge South Dakota’s egregious and infinitely malleable single-subject rule on constitutional amendments, the Secretary of State finally posted those advocates’ proposed initiated amendment on that topic. The Legislative Research Council responded to the sponsors with its obligatory review on July 26; the document posted to the Secretary of State’s website bears two date stamps, a partial stamp reading August 13 and a “Received” by SOS stamp reading September 17.

The proposed amendment strikes the single-subject amendment that voters approved in 2018 to Article 23 Section 1 of the South Dakota Constitution: “…however, no proposed amendment may embrace more than one subject. If more than one amendment is submitted at the same election, each amendment shall be so prepared and distinguished that it can be voted upon separately.” This is the clause that Judge Christine Klinger invoked as part of her decision in February to overturn Amendment A, the constitutionalization of marijuana that voters approved in 2020. A’s advocates and the Governor’s lawyers argued the case before the South Dakota Supreme Court in April; the Supreme Court still has not rendered its opinion.

Like the marijuana advocates proposed substitute initiatives to resubmit marijuana to the voters in 2022, this single-subject repeal petition has not yet started circulating. It would be due November 8, leaving sponsors only 40 days to collect at least 33,921 signatures from registered South Dakota voters.


  1. larry kurtz 2021-09-28 07:31

    Nobody is more pleased by the failure of white people to regulate cannabis in my home state than I am. Despite Republican foot-dragging a brood of white boys is even bringing a grow/op out the ground in Colman, no less.

    But, the State of South Dakota has little power over the tribal nations trapped within the borders of the red moocher state. A 1986 amendment to federal law allows tribes to acquire off-reservation land to serve the needs of its peoples. President Tony Reider and officials of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Nation advanced their cannabis initiative after an Iowa casino on the border cut into the tribe’s gaming business but reportedly destroyed their crop after threats from federal party-poopers.

    The Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Montana and the Arapahoe Tribe of Oklahoma teamed up and bought 1,020 acres of ranchland north and east of Mato Paha (Bear Butte) adding significantly to their holdings West River. Last year the Oglala Oyate bought off-reservation property on I-90 just outside Badlands National Park. The Fort Peck Tribes in occupied Montana have legalized therapeutic cannabis and the Northern Cheyenne have been mulling the concept. As co-owners of Pe’Sla the Minnesota-based Shakopee Mdewakanton Nation could bring that state’s medical cannabis and reproductive rights freedoms to the Black Hills. Lower Brule has struggled with synthetic cannabinoids but that community has off-reservation property in Fort Pierre to test their sovereignty.

    It’s time to test South Dakota’s jurisdiction over nations where cannabis is legal and for tribal medical professionals to establish clinics that perform abortions on non-contiguous off-reservation parcels as islands of health care that supersede state law.

  2. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-09-28 08:07

    I welcome tests of tribal sovereignty. I also welcome the marijuana advocates’ vigorous challenge to the capricious single-subject rule.

  3. larry kurtz 2021-09-28 09:54

    That the broke South Dakota Democratic Party would spend scant resources to get any measure on the ballot that will ultimately be rejected by another Republican Secretary of State or the state’s psychopathic legislature before recruiting party officers in every county remains a mystery.

  4. Mark Anderson 2021-09-28 14:35

    Shouldn’t your representatives have worked this out by now? The people voted for it? What’s the deal? Just kidding of course, Republicans don’t represent anyone other than themselves. There must not be too many libertarians among them.

  5. John Dale 2021-09-28 15:07

    When something is done incorrectly in bad faith to generate competitive advantage (oligopoly), expect endless legal battles.

    This is going to get expensive.

    But hey, #itried

  6. larry kurtz 2021-09-28 16:10

    There is no relationship between the state’s therapeutic cannabis program and Native Nations Cannabis on the Flandreau Santee Sioux Nation which is very different from states like Washington that operate with a compact. East River, Native Nations is struggling to keep up with demand.

    Having lived in the Black Hills for nearly thirty years, twenty two of them in Lawrence County it’s not surprising that the county commission there is proposing to take bids for a single dispensary despite a Planning and Zoning Commission plan for three but where it would be located remains a mystery. A government-owned store next to the police department in Spearditch is not impossible.

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