Sioux Falls City Council holds first discussion on medical marijuana

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota’s Medical Marijuana law goes into effect in about a month–now cities all over the state are discussing potential ordinances to regulate this new industry. Tuesday, the Sioux Falls city council met for the first time to discuss what medical marijuana could look like here.

“Most of our control revolves around what businesses can be in the city and where they can be,” Sioux Fall city council member, Greg Neitzert said.

While the Sioux Falls City Council isn’t debating who can have access to medical marijuana, the Council is discussing some potential limitations throughout the city, like where patients would be allowed to use medical cannabis and where they will be able to buy it.

“The only question is where should they be located? That’s really a community conversation. Where do you think it’s appropriate? Do you want the downtown, do you not want them downtown, do you want them in commercial areas, near school, near parks, what is that?” Neitzert said

“They need to be assessable, not everybody drives, some people walk, some people take the bus, so having dispensaries located in places that are accessible is the most important thing,” medical marijuana patient Jason Karimi said.

Medical cannabis supporters like Emmet Reistroffer were at today’s informational meeting to make sure advocates and patients are part of the city’s conversation.

“Genuine medical patients need good representation. It takes informed citizens to be involved and to help make this process go smoother. This is a much more complicated issue than people would think,” Reistroffer said.

A process medical cannabis patient Jason Karimi has been a part of in both Iowa and Minnesota–

“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, there have been some cities and some states that have done that for sometime now,” Sioux Falls city councilor Janet Brekke said.

Brekke says the groundwork for medical marijuana has already been laid by many other states–examples she hopes Sioux Falls will study.

“In Colorado we’ve had contact with one of their elected leaders there we’ve had contact with just to see what they’ve done, what works, what doesn’t work,” City of Sioux Falls attorney Stacy Kooistra said.

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