As the state prepares to fully open to the legalization and sale of medical marijuana in 2022, cities and counties are in the process of deciding what that looks like on the local level.
The city of Flandreau this past month voted to allow three cannabis dispensaries once medical marijuana is allowed in South Dakota. Licenses will be a $10,000 initial fee and $10,000 for a renewal under an ordinance passed Sept. 20. The number is the same as the number of liquor licenses.
This past week, county commissioners passed an ordinance of their own, limiting the number of licenses to three as well with a requirement they be renewed annually. The application fee is also $10,000. Applications will be limited to the number of licenses yet available.
County Chair Carla Bruning said there are only a few spots in the county that are zoned commercial outside of each municipality. It would be in these areas that applications would be considered and different owners/operators would be required for each.
Consumers at any such establishment would not be allowed to smoke or consume cannabis on premise.
Voters overwhelmingly passed Measure 26 in November of 2020 allowing for the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis. The medical element continues to move forward with the state looking to begin issuing identification cards by May 15th, but Bruning said local lawmakers are all being told to expect fluidity in the process as lawmakers head back into session in January.
A state medical-marijuana subcommittee earlier this month decided to eliminate the ability for qualified patients to home-cultivate marijuana. Members of the Marijuana Interim Study Committee must now decide whether or not to advance the recommendation to the legislature.
The legalization of recreational cannabis continues to be challenged in court, but advocates aren’t waiting to learn its fate. South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws is among those preparing for a massive signature collection drive on at least four proposed legalization initiatives. They have until November 8th to collect enough signatures for any of the measures to qualify for next year’s ballot.