South Dakota:Pierre City Commission passes licensing, zoning ordinances for cannabis-related businesses

Not news you expect to see from South Dakota..

The Pierre City Commission approved a pair of ordinances at Tuesday’s meeting setting up licensing and zoning regulations for cannabis establishments.

The South Dakota Department of Health is quickly approaching its October deadline to promulgate its rules regarding medical marijuana, the legalization of which state voters approved in the November general election. Under the ordinances given consideration by the Pierre City Commission, all four types of cannabis facilities — cultivation, dispensary, manufacturing and testing — can set up shop in the city industrial park, light industrial or heavy industrial districts, while dispensaries and testing facilities can set up in the central and local business districts.

However, no medical marijuana establishments of any kind are permitted within 1,000 feet of a public or private school within Pierre city limits under Ordinance 1836.

Ordinance 1837, as approved Tuesday, sets an application fee for a city cannabis establishment license at $5,000, a price that set off dissenting public comment at Tuesday’s meeting.

“We did look at that, the number, and I think that we kind of looked at how many dispensaries we would have, and we didn’t want to open it up to a lot,” Pierre City Administrator Kristi Honeywell said Tuesday. “We landed on three, so I think that fee is a pretty good number to kind of keep those serious business owners and just so we wanted to be sure that we only had very serious people.”

Under Ordinance 1837, the City of Pierre will reimburse an applicant $2,500 if they fail to obtain the necessary registration certificate from the state Health Department. The ordinance also sets the number of dispensaries that can operate within city limits at three, and the number of cultivation, manufacturing and testing facilities at one each.

To receive a city cannabis establishment license, however, applicants must meet a number of requirements. Namely, the owner, principal officer or board members of an establishment cannot be younger than 21 years old, have been convicted of a violent felony within the previous 10 years or be overdue in payment of taxes, utilities or other fees to the City of Pierre.

Before Tuesday’s vote on Ordinance 1836, Commissioner Jamie Huizenga took the time to thank City Planner Sharon Pruess for her work on the ordinance.

“I truly want to thank you and this group and the city attorney and everybody that’s been part of this since the election approving this cannabis,” Huizenga said. “This really landed on our front step and was a lot to work through in a relatively short period of time. It’s not like we never, well, we’ve worked with alcohol and licensing on various things in the city but this was a little outside of our area of expertise, but a lot of people to a lot of work to get to this point.”


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