Constitutional Amendment A
Marijuana Legalization Initiative
Votes %
Yes 225,260 54.18%
No 190,477 45.82%
Total votes 415,737 100.00%

2020 South Dakota Amendment A Results By County.svg.png
Results by county. Counties with majority "Yes" votes are in green and counties with majority "No" votes are in red.
Source: South Dakota Secretary of State

South Dakota Constitutional Amendment A, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, was a cannabis legalization initiative that appeared on the November 3, 2020 South Dakota general election ballot. Passing with 54% of the vote, the measure legalized recreational marijuana in South Dakota effective July 1, 2021. Additionally, Amendment A requires the South Dakota State Legislature to establish a medical marijuana program and legal hemp sales by April 1, 2022.[1]

With the passage of South Dakota Initiated Measure 26 on the same ballot, South Dakota became the first state in US history to legalize recreational and medical cannabis simultaneously.[2] Along with Arizona, Montana, and New Jersey, South Dakota was one of four states to legalize cannabis via ballot measures in the November 2020 election.

Legal challenge[edit]

On November 20, 2020 a lawsuit was filed by Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom and South Dakota Highway Patrol Superintendent Rick Miller seeking to have Amendment A invalidated. The plaintiffs argued that the initiative violated the state's single-subject ballot measure provision and was a "revision" (which would require a constitutional convention) rather than an amendment.[3] Public reaction to the lawsuit was negative and the Pennington County Sheriff Office's Facebook page was review bombed shortly after it was filed.[4]

On January 8, 2021, South Dakota governor Kristi Noem issued an executive order which revealed she had directed Miller to file the lawsuit in her capacity as governor. Noem was strongly opposed to Amendment A and an active participant in the campaign against it prior to the election.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "South Dakota Constitutional Amendment A, Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2020)". Ballotpedia.
  2. ^ "South Dakota legalizes adult-use cannabis after passing medical measure". Marijuana Business Daily. November 4, 2020.
  3. ^ "S.D. recreational-pot amendment challenged". November 20, 2020.
  4. ^ EST, Aila Slisco On 11/25/20 at 8:42 PM (November 25, 2020). "South Dakota police file lawsuit to block measure legalizing marijuana approved by voters". Newsweek.
  5. ^ EST, Celine Castronuovo on January 8, 2021 at 10:14PM (January 8, 2021). "SD governor to challenge amendment legalizing recreational marijuana". The Hill.