State agrees to change personalized license plate policy

The state of South Dakota agrees to amend its personalized license plate law that the ACLU said infringed on the free speech rights of South Dakotans.

The agreement comes after a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of South Dakota on behalf of Lyndon Hart. They say Hart’s free speech was stifled when his application for a “REZWEED” plate was initially denied as being “in poor taste.”

Hart runs a business called Rez Weed Indeed that supports and promotes the legal selling and use of medical and recreational marijuana on Native American reservations.

The lawsuit challenged the standards used by the Motor Vehicle Division to approve or deny personalized plates. Under the settlement, the state’s “carries connotations offensive to good taste and decency” standard is deemed unconstitutional and will not be used for personalized plates moving forward.

As part of the judgment agreement, the state will make a public statement and include a note on the South Dakota Department of Revenue’s webpage that a new policy has been implemented. Anyone previously denied a requested plate may reapply.


December 12, 2023