Minnehaha County Commission passes first reading of medical marijuana ordinance

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — With medical marijuana set to become legal in less than a month, it’s still unclear how it will be regulated in South Dakota. That’s forcing cities and counties to create laws of their own.

The Minnehaha County Commission held a special meeting Tuesday morning for a first reading of an ordinance that would govern the sale of medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana becomes legal in South Dakota on July 1. Right now, many counties are rushing to make sure they’re ready.

“The state has to this point not taken any action to help with getting this process going forward, even though it passed with 70% of the vote last November, so they’re foot dragging and now faced with imminent full legalization of medical marijuana. Under stress, we’re forced to take action,” Minnehaha County commissioner Jeff Barth said.

In Minnehaha County, that action comes in the form of a new ordinance.

“It has nothing to do with the use or consumption of medical marijuana. That’s a totally separate issue,” Minnehaha County Commission chairman Dean Karsky said. “This is all about waiting for the state to give us the guidance, the groundwork, that we need to establish the sale, and the establishment of licenses for people to be able to sell it.”

Even if the ordinance moves forward, there are still a lot of unknowns.

“Kind of like alcohol sales, I guess would be the best analogy,” Karsky said. “How many licenses can we issue? What’s the cost of the licenses? Is there going to be distance between establishments? Who can cultivate it and where? All of these different things that we have to basically make sure that we are comfortable with doing, just like alcohol sales.”

“Why do we need to have 66 different counties with 66 different ordinances, plus another hundred cities and villages that have their own ordinances,” Barth said.

According to the proposed ordinance in Minnehaha County, any business that wants to sell medical marijuana will need to apply for a county permit.

Once the state health department lays out the rules, they will have 60 days to apply. The ordinance has its second reading Tuesday, June 15.

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