HARTFORD, S.D. (KELO) — The first state-regulated medical marijuana dispensary in South Dakota just wrapped up its first month in business.
“When we opened our doors on July 27th, South Dakota had just over 1,700 medical marijuana patients,” Unity Rd. in Hartford’s co-owner Adam Jorgensen said.
Now just one month later, South Dakota has nearly 2,500 medical marijuana card holders.
“It’s pretty hard to justify purchasing a prescription card when there’s no facility to use your card, now that the physical structure is here, yes I do think we’ve influenced that 32% increase in 30 days,” Jorgensen said.
“We’ve got customers coming to us from all over the state; we’ve seen people from Rapid City, Faith, Yankton, Aberdeen,” Unity Rd co-owner BJ Olson said.
And from Parkinson’s to PTSD, anxiety and pain relief, the Unity Rd dispensary in Hartford is seeing patients come in with a wide array of ailments.
“We’ve had people come to our store that have been sent home to die,” Olson said. “They’ve been through the chemotherapy, been through the radiation, the doctors have given them no more hope, just go home and be comfortable.”
“It’s really been an emotional month seeing what these patients are enduring and the lengths that they’re going to to find remedies,” Jorgensen said.
While the store is open to sell their products, a lot of what Unity Rd has done in its first month in business is really educating people on how to use it.
“For a fair majority of patients, this is the very first time that they’ve experienced cannabis, their first time doing anything with cannabis,” Olson said. “We’ll sit down with them to make sure that one, they’re doing it the correct way and that they’re doing it the responsible way…the last thing we want to do is send somebody out the door with no instructions.”
“We’ll get it all labeled and I put my email and phone number on there for you, please reach out any time,” one Unity Rd employee said to a customer Thursday.
And while they’re seeing a wide age range of patients, the owners of Unity Rd in Hartford say the majority of their patients have been 55 or older, many looking for alternatives to their lengthy lists of medications.