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South Dakota Governor Directs Lawsuit to Overturn Legalization
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem issued an executive order Friday to officially direct a lawsuit challenging a voter-approved constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana, according to a report from the Billings Gazette.
The order ensures that Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Rick Miller has legal standing to sue in an effort to overturn the constitutional amendment because he was acting on behalf of the Republican governor. Lawyers defending the constitutional amendment had argued Miller did not have legal standing and asked a South Dakota judge to dismiss the case.
Noem had opposed measures to legalize marijuana, but voters in November passed a pair of measures legalizing recreational and medical pot. The constitutional amendment that legalized recreational pot passed with 54% of the vote. It also legalized medical marijuana and hemp.
Nebraska Lawmaker Files Marijuana Legalization Amendment
Nebraska voters would be asked to legalize marijuana for all Nebraskans 21 and older under a proposed constitutional amendment introduced Thursday in the State Legislature.
If state lawmakers advanced the proposal — which seems unlikely — the issue would appear on the ballot in 2022.
The legislative proposal, from State Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha, comes as an advocacy group seeking legalization plans to collect signatures that, if enough were collected, would also allow voters to decide whether to legalize cannabis for both medical and recreational use.
The group, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, had collected enough signatures to put medical marijuana on the ballot in November. But two months before that, the State Supreme Court tossed the issue off the ballot, ruling that it violated the Nebraska Constitution’s requirement that ballot initiatives stick to a single subject.
The disqualification prompted the group to try again, but this time to seek voter approval of both medical and recreational marijuana.
Medical Marijuana Bills Filed in Three Southern States
State legislators in Alabama, Kentucky and South Carolina have filed or pre-filed bills establishing such medical marijuana programs, according to a Reckon report.
In Alabama, state Sen. Tim Melson plans to file a medical cannabis bill similar to the one he filed in 2020.
Smokable and vaping medical cannabis products would not be authorized under the bill, only tablets, certain types of edibles and creams. It would not allow any food products containing cannabis, like cookies or candies.
In South Carolina, state Rep. Bill Herbkersman and state Sen. Tom Davis, a Republican and Democrat, respectively, have prefilled versions of the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act.
The bill outlines restrictions on how much a medical cannabis patient may possess at one time and the level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) allowed in each type of medical cannabis product.
Several Kentucky legislators have jointly filed a bipartisan bill that creates a Division of Medical Cannabis and creates a director and a board, which will set regulations regarding daily, 10-day and 30-day supply limits and create limits on how much THC is allowed in each type of medical cannabis product.
Montana Legislators Refuse Funding for Legalization
Montana lawmakers have rejected a request from the state’s Department of Revenue for money to fund the voter-approved marijuana legalization program, a move that threatens to delay the launch of legal cannabis sales and slow the inflow of tax revenue to state coffers.
Marijuana Moment reports that Gov. Greg Gianforte is also proposing to redirect eventual marijuana legalization revenues from environmental conservation and veterans’ services, as voters approved when passing the legalization initiative. The governor insists that how the legislature spends marijuana money is its prerogative, regardless of what the voters approved. He would divert much of that money to the drug rehab industry and business development.
Pro-Pot Pennsylvania Lt. Governor Eyes 2022 Senate Run
John Fetterman, the Lt. Gov. of Pennsylvania who has attracted attention for his pro-marijuana views, announced Friday that he will run for the US Senate seat currently held by retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey.
If he succeeds in a Senate run, it could help solidify the Democratic majority in the chamber with a member who champions marijuana reform.
On his campaign website, Fetterman touts his role in leading a listening tour across the state to solicit public input on legalization. He noted that, following his efforts, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) “announced his support for legalization for the first time.”
In a tweet on Friday, the lieutenant governor pledged “Legal Weed for USA + ending the War on Drugs.”