NORTH SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU)- This coming election, people in North Sioux City have more than just candidates to vote on there is an initiated ballot measure as well. If passed, it would change the number of medical marijuana dispensaries allowed in the city.

IM 5 would remove the limit on how many medical cannabis establishments can be licensed to operate in the city and licenses are awarded through a state lottery.

Businesses were assigned a number and drawn like bingo. However, some North Sioux City residents didn’t like the lottery system and felt all who submitted an application should have a chance to have a medical cannabis facility.

“Just to make it fair and equitable, we thought let’s just open it up so everybody that at least put in an application can get one, period, and then open up and see what happens,” said Jim Zortman, owner of Zort’s PrimeTime Casino

Jim Zortman, Genesis Farms, and various north Sioux City residents banded together and formed a petition, receiving enough signatures to get on the November ballot.

Zortman says he’s seen firsthand how medical cannabis can help people.

“I know of a gal that was dying from cancer and she was in very very conflicting pain. She was told by the doctor if she could acquire marijuana, and I didn’t help her, I didn’t do anything like that, that it would help her and it did. It benefited her greatly, so I’ve seen the positive side of medical marijuana and that’s why I believe in it,” said Zortman

Currently, the city ordinance limits the number of licenses to 4 dispensaries, and 2 growing, processing, and testing facilities. chief operating officer for Genesis Farms, Emmett Reistroffer says, rather than having people get their cannabis off the street it would be safer for citizens to go through official facilities.

“Marijuana is here, whether folks like it or not. The question is, will it be sold by drug dealers who have no regulations, who don’t check ids, who don’t test their products, or will we put it behind the shelf, in a regulated environment, where you have to show an id before you walk in the door. or in this case, a medical marijuana card that a doctor approved,” said Reistroffer 

If the ballot happens to pass, North Sioux City could see an increase in revenue from licensing and application fees from medical cannabis facilities.

However, Eric Christensen, the North Sioux City administrator says, no one can predict the exact benefits increasing licenses may have.

“it’s hard to determine exactly how much benefit there is by increasing the number of dispensary establishments for example. just because there’s an increase in the number of facilities doesn’t necessarily mean that there’ll be an increase in the number of customers,” said Christensen.

With roughly three thousand citizens in north Sioux City Christensen says, he wouldn’t be sure how the longevity of the new medical cannabis facilities would be.

“We’re really not sure what kind of a market there is for it and how many of these establishments will ultimately be successful in providing this service to the city,” said Christensen

 In South Dakota, residents can vote early until November 7th and on election day, polls are open from 7 am until 7 pm.