SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – As the state of South Dakota works out how the medical marijuana program will work, the City of Sioux Falls is also putting together plans. Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken has released two proposed medical cannabis ordinances that will be discussed at the City Council meeting tomorrow night.
TenHaken has a plan he believes will respect the will of the voters while slowly introducing medical marijuana dispensaries in South Dakota’s largest city.
“I, for one, voted for IM 26. I want people who have a medical marijuana need, a medical cannabis need, to have access to that drug,” he said. “We also want to do that in a pragmatic way that provides access but doesn’t turn us into a community where there’s dispensaries everywhere.”
The way IM 26 was written allows local governments to handle things like how many dispensaries there will be within city limits and what the licensing fees will be. With one of his plans, TenHaken is proposing that the limit be set at five dispensaries for Sioux Falls.
“Even though we’d have a five license cap in Sioux Falls, there’s very likely going to be other dispensaries across our two counties where people can access this if they need to,” TenHaken said.
TenHaken’s other proposed ordinance deals with the zoning. It says medical marijuana dispensaries will need to keep a one thousand foot distance from ‘sensitive-use’ areas such as churches, schools and homes.
If it is for medicinal purposes, we’re going to have other places you can get it, but there’s certain places we just want to protect kind of the culture of the vibe, the integrity of some of those neighborhoods and some of those locations,” he said.
As for licensing fees, TenHaken wants that set to $100,000 every two years. He plans to have the city use half of that money on cannabis education.
“It’s important that parents and people who have access to that know that this is still a dangerous substance,” TenHaken said. “So, we’re going to be spending a lot of dollars, in the years ahead, educating our community on the right and wrong uses of this.”
TenHaken says the city can always look into expanding the number of dispensaries in the city if it chooses to in the future.
The Sioux Falls City Council will have the first reading of these ordinances tomorrow night. The second reading will be in three weeks.