Lawrence County proposes allowing one cannabis dispensary

Courtesy photo

DEADWOOD — Lawrence County will start small when it comes to allowing marijuana, as Tuesday County Commissioners heard the first reading of ordinances regulating cannabis.

As outlined in the General District Provisions amended ordinance, the county will allow for one cannabis dispensary, which must be at least 1,000 feet from: a single-family dwelling, a public or private school, a church, public service facility, park, or another medical cannabis establishment. The dispensary will be allowed to operate between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., seven days a week.  

The ordinance Creating Licensing Provisions for Cannabis Establishments sets forth a $10,000 application fee and a $500 renewal fee. Issuance of the license is dependent upon: the applicant providing valid information; the applicant being 21 years of age; no violent felony offense convictions in the past 10 years in any jurisdiction; meeting the applicable zoning requirements; no previous revocations of a cannabis establishment license; and other criteria.

The license remains valid for one year and may be renewed only by making an application per county policy.

A license may be suspended if the license holder or an employee or agent of the license holder: violates or is otherwise not in compliance with any section of this article; consumes or smokes or allows any person to consume or smoke cannabis on the premises of the cannabis establishment; knowingly dispense or provides cannabis or cannabis products to an individual or business to whom it is unlawful to provide cannabis or cannabis products.

Commissioners opted to change a recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission that would have allowed for three dispensaries. The Planning and Zoning reasoning for doing so was to encourage competition and discourage a monopoly.

 “This is a living document that can be changed from time to time and this will give us an opportunity to follow it down the road and see where this all goes,” said Commissioner Bob Ewing.

Commissioner Brandon Flanagan pointed out that the cities would regulate businesses in municipalities apart from county regulations.

Commissioner Randy Deibert confirmed that the ordinance would specify the proper international building code language.

Commissioner Randall Rosenau agreed that going with one dispensary would allow the county to take some time to see how the issue unfolds.

Flanagan suggested taking sealed bids on the license and accepting the highest responsible bid.

The second reading of both ordinances is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. Sept. 7.

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