The malleable definition of “subject” is fraught with potential for abuse. When issuing its judgment on the constitutionality of the recreational marijuana amendment, the South Dakota Supreme Court would be wise to address this issue head on to prevent the will of future voters from being dismissed due to perceived drafting errors.
South Dakota’s battle over legalizing recreational marijuana is being fought not only in the courthouse, but also in the realm of public opinion. Coming from a state where medical marijuana failed to even make it on the ballot four years ago, the passage of recreational marijuana was stunning. Public opinion drastically shifted in the past few years after more states legalized medical and recreational marijuana, and South Dakotans decided it was their turn to join the legalization movement.
The hard-fought battle over public perception of marijuana makes the current lawsuits to overturn the will of the voters even more disappointing. South Dakotans and their elected officials appear to have parted ways on the question of who truly has the state’s best interests in mind.
As residents of the first state to allow citizen-initiated referendums in 1898, South Dakotans have a long history of direct input with state governance. With such input comes a sense of personal responsibility and the belief that the people are the best arbiters of their own fate.