RAPID CITY, S.D. — Counties and municipalities in South Dakota are playing a waiting game while trying to implement their own medical cannabis programs.
As the deadline approaches for the state to issue it’s final rules for medical cannabis, the Pennington County Commissioners met Friday at the Pennington County Administration Building in a special meeting.
Commissioners making preparations while working with a cannabis consulting firm to make sure everyone gets a fair shake.
“You don’t want to tax it out of existence to where it’s cheaper to purchase it off the black market than it is to purchase it from a licensed dispensary,” said Kittrick Jeffries, the Founder of Dakota Cannabis Consulting. “You don’t want to zone it out of existence where you create pockets of where these cannabis businesses are going to go to increase evaluation of certain properties and certain zoning districts.”
As it stands, the county can regulate the time, place, manner, and number of licenses it will allow.
After medical marijuana became legal in the state, members of the Pennington County Planning Department and commission visited Adams County in Colorado – which is similar to Pennington County in terms of land size, city centers and agricultural community.
They gained perspective on the industry while checking out cultivation and manufacturing facilities as well as dispensaries to provide guidance to the commission.
“They have been a great resource, just because of the time and approach that they took was a slower, more cautious approach and just took a lot of things into consideration, excuse me, that I think will be appropriate in Pennington County,” said Brittney Molitor, the Planning Director for Pennington County.
Commissioners also making sure that the new costs of the program negate the costs for Pennington County residents.
“We want to make sure that when we set a fee, or we look at sales tax that we offset our cost so that we don’t have to pass that on to the taxpayers,” said Ron Rossknecht, the Vice Chairman of the Pennington County Commissioners.
County ordinances won’t apply to rapid city which is also working through it’s own rules and regulations.
For the county, the next step is for the Planning Department and State’s Attorney’s Office to present an ordinance to the commission and public for comments.