South Dakota cities working towards establishing medical marijuana businesses

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — On November 18, South Dakota will begin issuing medical marijuana cards to patients and caregivers, but there may be some delays in actually obtaining the cannabis as cities work to set up dispensaries.

Patients who will receive their medical marijuana cards in a few weeks won’t have many options on where to get the product as there’s currently only one functioning dispensary in the state right now located in Flandreau but cities have drafted plans recently on how people can start up a medical cannabis business whether that’s a dispensary, production, or testing facility. City administrator Eric Christensen of North Sioux City says the deadline to apply for a license is also on November 18. He explained what the process is after the city ensures the applicant meets all guidelines.

“We will present them to counsel at a public hearing and let the public comment on each individual applicant and once it’s past that stage, the application will move on to the state,” said Christensen.

Similar to a liquor license, there will be a one-time application fee of $1500 in North Sioux City and then a $10,000 renewal fee annually from the city, as well as both types of fees charged by the state.

“With our liquor licenses, we have a limited number of licenses that go out. That’s gonna be the case with these, we know that there are going to be more applicants for dispensaries than we’re going to have licenses for,” said Christensen.

Christensen says there’s four licenses up for grabs for dispensaries and up to two for production or testing facilities. All ordinances and the amount of fees is determined by the local municipalities themselves, such as in Vermillion, who’s decided to use a “dollar per capita” system to determine their fee amounts.

“The 2020 census was 11,695 so that would be the initial application fee for someone looking to get into the medical cannabis industry in Vermillion,” said Vermillion City Manager John Prescott.

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