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A photo from a marijuana processing facility in Medway, Mass., from Oct. 2021. Photo: Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The South Dakota Supreme Court Wednesday upheld a lower court's nullification of a voter-approved amendment to the state's constitution that would have legalized recreational marijuana use.

Why it matters: The ruling is a major setback for legalization advocates and a victory for Gov. Kristi Noem (R), who strongly opposes recreational marijuana use in the state.

About 54% of voters in South Dakota last year approved an amendment that would have legalized recreational marijuana and required the state legislature to pass laws that would legalize the use of medical marijuana and the sale of hemp.

  • Noem, who is running for re-election, opposed the amendment during the campaign and took steps to block it after a majority of voters approved of it.
  • Lawyers representing state law enforcement officials sued on behalf of Noem's administration to have the amendment overturned, arguing that it violated the state's requirement that constitutional amendments deal with only one subject.
  • A lower court sided with the law enforcement officials in February and overturned the amendment, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

The big picture: South Dakota voters approved a separate ballot measure last November that also legalized medical marijuana, and it went unchallenged and was supported by state lawmakers last month.

  • The ruling comes despite a major recent shift in the acceptance of recreational marijuana use in the U.S., according to Gallup.
  • New Mexico in April became the 16th state to legalize the drug.
  • Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) introduced legislation last week to federally decriminalize and tax marijuana, though it would defer to states on matters of regulation.

Go deeper: Republicans introduce bill to decriminalize marijuana

Go deeper

Supreme Court agrees to hear North Carolina voter ID law case

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear a case on whether Republican lawmakers in North Carolina have the right to defend the state's photo identification voter law.

State of play: The North Carolina state legislature had submitted a request to have the court review a decision from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals that said lawmakers could not intervene in a lawsuit brought by the NAACP against the state's voter ID law.

Storms pummel flood-hit Pacific Northwest as border river overflows

An image of the water-logged Sumas Prairie area taken last Friday. Photo: B.C. Ministry of Transportation/Twitter.

The latest ferocious storm system to hit the Pacific Northwest triggered fresh evacuation orders and at least one mudslide in flood-ravaged British Columbia, Canada, late Sunday.

Threat level: Flood sirens sounded in Washington state as the Nooksack River overflowed. Henry Braun, mayor of Abbotsford, B.C., told reporters the water flow was headed toward the Canadian border city later Sunday. "There's nothing to stop it," he said.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.