County Commission adopts cannabis dispensaries policy

The Moody County Commission adopted its policy for medical cannabis dispensaries but hasn’t settled on a license fee.
The commission voted to allow three dispensaries that must be 1,000 feet from churches, residents, parks, libraries and schools. They can be open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, except on federal holidays.
The county has about five commercial-zoned areas where placement of a dispensary may be possible, including the Interstate 29 exit at Colman.
With licensing, the county commissioners first talked about a $50,000 fee but last week said perhaps that is too high and considered some lower numbers without deciding on a final amount. One possibility discussed was $10,000 for the initial license and $5,000 for the annual renewal.
The higher number originally discussed is justified because of costs for patrolling the establishments. But it might also be too high, said chairwoman Carla Bruning. “I know we can justify it,” she said.
Brookings County is looking at a fee of $5,000, while Minnehaha County is looking at much more.
More drivers are showing up in court with tickets for being impaired, said State’s Attorney Paul Lewis. “We are seeing substantial issues. We’re seeing that driver very much impaired,” he said. “We do carry the social costs.”
Lewis also said the licensing requirements should prevent anyone convicted of felony distribution of drugs within the last 10 years from operating.
The commission will have a hearing on Sept. 21 and a second reading to approve its policy on Oct. 5.
In other business,
•Commissioners accepted the resignation of A.J. Gengler as ambulance director and will begin advertising for a replacement. He is moving out of state.
•Commissioners decided on a starting salary of $46,403.33 for the newly created position of Emergency Management director and Veteran’s Services Officer. The county also will advertise for applications. To qualify, an applicant must be a veteran.
•The county added the costs of a school resource officer to its budget in anticipation that there will be a contract with the Flandreau School District. The cost is $72,000 in salary and benefits, which would be paid by the school at 75 percent, and $35,000 to start up with equipment, which the county also is asking the school district to pay at 75 percent.
•Bids will be let this fall on the Christenson bridge with construction to replace it starting in the spring. It is one of several bridges on a five-year plan for improvements.
•Commissioners approved a temporary liquor license and beer sales request for Flandraeu Rodeo Days for Sept. 18-19.