SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Emmett Reistroffer and his partners in Genesis Farms LLC are planning for a possible 14 medical marijuana dispensaries in South Dakota.

“Our priorities are (to open) in Rapid City, Aberdeen and Sioux Falls,” Reistroffer said.

Genesis Farms is growing marijuana at a site in Box Elder. Some of that will be sold at its own dispensaries, including planned sites in and near Sioux Falls.

So far, the most unusual Genesis site may be in Minnehaha County at 7605 E. Arrowhead Parkway near Sioux Falls. Most people would recognize it as the intersection of South Dakota Highway 42 and Six Mile Road and the location of the Alibi Bar and Grill. It’s across the highway from Sioux Falls city limits and it’s in a joint jurisdiction between the city and the county but it’s unincorporated property within the county.

Minnehaha County will issue only one medical marijuana dispensary license this year. Other locations in the county are under the jurisdiction of cities.

There aren’t many visible changes to the property now, as Genesis has been “very focused on cultivation in Box Elder,” Reistroffer said. “We want to make sure we are successful there to have a supply chain to point of sale.”

Property changes may start in September or October, he said. The site near Sioux Falls should open by the end of the year, Reistroffer said.

The Alibi Bar and Grill at 7605 E Arrowhead Parkway, at the intersection of South Dakota Highway 42 and Six Mile Road. The location is the planned site for a Genesis Farms medical marijuana dispensary.

The land is inside a joint jurisdiction district between the city of Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County. It’s zoned for commercial use.

“The zoning made sense to us,” Reistroffer said of the location. The location is close to a highway and a population base, he said.

The city’s zoning for the land across the highway from the dispensary is zoned for commercial use, which is consistent with the Genesis site.

Reistroffer, who is from South Dakota, has worked in the cannabis industry for several years in Colorado and Nevada. He said he’s familiar with ordinances and restrictions on medical marijuana and adult use marijuana.

“Medical marijuana is new to South Dakota and Genesis has found that many city and county ordinances are similar,” Reistroffer said. “The process is similar in most communities.”

The process includes a lottery to select licenses as well as detailed ordinances for location and operation of dispensaries.

Minnehaha County approved allowing one licensed dispensary. The city of Sioux Falls will allow five.

The joint jurisdiction has a specific medical marijuana dispensary ordinance called 114-21, which was effected Oct. 21.

In terms of rules and restrictions, the city of Sioux Falls’ ordinance 104-21 mirrors the county ordinance. This was effective on Oct. 1.

The Minnehaha County ordinance 60-21 is about 12 pages and spells out parking rules, operation rules and similar for medical marijuana dispensaries and license holders. This was effective on Oct. 25, 2021.

“There are a lot of restrictive rules,” Reistroffer said. The company understands that restrictions are likely because medical marijuana is new to the state, he said.

Before a medical marijuana dispensary reaches the ordinance stage in the county or city, it must first be selected through a lottery to hold a license. Sioux Falls had its lottery in November. Minnehaha County had its lottery in December.

Rules applied to lottery applicants in both places.

The dispensary needed a conditional use permit

Medical marijuana dispensaries need to be 1,000 feet from a school, residence and similar properties.

The Minnehaha County location did not meet the 1,000-foot setback requirement because a residence was located within 1,000 feet, said Kevin Hoekman of the county’s planning and zoning department.

The residence is in a commercially-zoned area but it was closer than 1,000 feet to the planned medical dispensary.

The back area of the planned medical marijuana dispensary site at the intersection of South Dakota Highway 42 and Six Mile Road.

Hoekman said because the 1,000-foot setback could not be met, Genesis needed to apply to the planning commission for a conditional use permit. Genesis was not required to notify property owners who are 1,000 feet from the dispensary site but it was required to notify those within 500 feet, Hoekman said.

“They’re required for a conditional use permit up to 500 feet,” Hoekman said. “We give them (the company) a form and letter about the conditional use permit.”

A conditional use permit (CPU) application requires a hearing in front of the county planning commission.

The joint city of Sioux Falls and Minnehaha planning commission approved the CPU application at a Feb. 28 meeting. The city of Sioux Falls said in a February 10 letter that it recommended approving the CPU.

Although Genesis wasn’t required to notify property owners within 1,000 feet of the dispensary, Reistroffer said the company reached out to property owners at that distance.

“Many signed letters of non-opposition,” Reistroffer said. Minutes from the Feb. 28 planning commission meeting said Reistroffer provided several signed statements of no opposition.

Among the ordinance requirements are to make sure no medical marijuana patients use the medical marijuana at the dispensary site.

The intersection of South Dakota Highway 42 and Six Mile Road looking to the north.

“We take education seriously,” Reistroffer said. The dispensary will have signs to explain the rules. First-time patients will also be informed of the rules, he said.

“We do not want to run into any issues. We will focus on good information and good education,” he said.

Medical marijuana provides a form of marijuana that people need for various conditions or illnesses, Reistroffer said.

Research has shown that marijuana can help those with epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease, those with trouble sleeping and others, he said.

The county’s ordinance was adopted thinking of medical marijuana dispensaries “as a pharmacy-type establishment with additional requirements,” Hoekman said.

But what about recreational marijuana?

Genesis Farms supports the passing of South Dakota Initiated Measure 27, which would legalize the use and possession of recreational marijuana.

State residents will vote on the measure in November.

Reistroffer refers to recreational marijuana as adult-use marijuana. Adult-use marijuana for some potential users would be similar to buying a pain reliever off the shelf.

If recreational marijuana is legalized, the state and local governments would need to set ordinances and requirements for its use and distribution.

Genesis would like it’s medical marijuana dispensaries to also be adult-use dispensaries if recreational marijuana is legalized, Reistroffer said.