SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Though medical marijuana officially became legal in South Dakota in July, 2021, it was more than a year before cardholders in the state were able to walk through the doors of a licensed dispensary.

From January 1, 2022, to December 30, 2022, the state of the marijuana industry in South Dakota has gone through major changes.

This year has seen a steady increase in medical marijuana patient cardholders, the development of a number of different cultivation businesses, and the opening of the state’s first licensed dispensaries.

January

On January 24, 2022, the South Dakota House voted to ban home cultivation of medical marijuana by certified cardholders. Advocates and industry members voiced opposition to this measure.

Also in January, a bill seeking to ban medical pot gummies was passed by a House committee. This bill too, failed.

February

In February, a bill to legalize recreational, aka adult-use marijuana was considered in the legislature, and advocates were cautiously optimistic.

By February, the state had seen 47 bills dealing with marijuana introduced. Many failed, but some became law.

March

Discussion surrounding the adult-use marijuana bill continued into March when South Dakota’s gubernatorial candidates weighed in with their views on the legislation.

Despite the optimism felt by some supporting the adult-use measure, it failed to pass, dying on the House floor.

A bit later in March, the bill to ban home cultivation of medical cannabis was sent to a conference committee, where members attempted to reconcile two separate versions of the proposal.

As this was taking place, another marijuana-centered bill, this one seeking to add more regulation to where cannabis can be used, failed to make it out of the Senate, dying with 20 votes opposing it.

The next day, the Senate took the opposite action, approving two marijuana-focused bills, one to allow certain facilities to prohibit the use of marijuana on their premises, and another to expand the definition of ‘practitioner’ as it relates to the ability to recommend medical marijuana. Both bills went on to become law.

With a full ban on home cultivation seemingly dead in the water, a measure to limit the number of plants was passed by the legislature and sent to the governor.

By March 29, 2022, just 90 South Dakota doctors had been approved to recommend medical marijuana to patients by the state. These 90 represented just over 4% of the physicians in the state.

April

In April we began to get an understanding of the role that medical marijuana card companies were playing in South Dakota as an event held in Sioux Falls drew hundreds of patients.

May

While the first state-licensed dispensary was still months from opening, it is easy to forget that Native Nations Cannabis, a dispensary owned and operated by the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, had been open since July 2021. In May 2022, they announced plans to double their production.

Later on, in May we heard from a company in Rapid City that was angling to be the first state-licensed dispensary to open. While they missed the mark on that goal, Kittrick Jeffries, the owner of Puffy’s Dispensary outlined the work he was doing to open his store in Rapid City.

June

In June we got a look at how the state medical program compared to that ran by the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, finding out that the tribal program had issued 10x as many cards as the states.

That same month, the company that had previously held a marijuana card event in Sioux Falls, My Cannabis Cards, also announced a ‘Marijuana Summer Fest’ event to be held in Rapid City.

Despite being far behind Flandreau in terms of cards issued, the state did hit a milestone in June, registering 1,000 patients seven months after issuing its first card.

July

On July 1, 2022, 23 laws concerning the marijuana industry passed by the legislature earlier in the year officially took effect.

With one full year having passed since the legalization of medical marijuana, cardholders were asking when the first state-licensed dispensaries would open. The answer is that very month.

While South Dakota voters as a whole passed a provision to legalize medical marijuana in 2020, voters of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe voted in 2020 to legalize both medical and recreational. It took some time for the program to fully get off the ground, but in July 2020 KELOLAND News spoke with the manager of No Worries, a Pine Ridge dispensary, that had been selling recreational and medical marijuana since May 27, 2022, the first in the state to do so.

August

August brought with it not just coverage of the Sturgis motorcycle rally, but also an opportunity to learn more about cannabis in western South Dakota.

This included a tour of the Genesis Farms Cannabis operation in Box Elder, as well as a much deeper exploration of the thriving recreational market on the Pine Ridge reservation.

That same month a shake-up was in order in the Dept. of Health, as it was announced that South Dakota’s first Medical Cannabis Program Administrator was leaving the position.

As August rolled on, many dispensaries were completing construction, but their doors remained closed. The issue: a limited supply of product.

September

In September we took a deeper look at the various medical marijuana card companies that had sprung up in the state, helping residents understand the process and how they work.

September also came with a new business announcement when we learned a Sioux Falls bakery would be joining forces with a cannabis company to create medical edibles.

October

As the November election neared, we got an update on the finances of the groups supporting and opposing recreational marijuana.

October also brought an opportunity to tour a recently opened dispensary in Brandon.

November

In the November election, advocates for recreational marijuana were dealt a huge disappointment, as the state voted against the measure to legalize adult use cannabis by a slim margin.

While industry members were disappointed and concerned for South Dakota’s future in the industry, a potential silver lining was pointed out.

You can find the full extent of KELOLAND’s coverage of marijuana here.