Meade County accepting applications for cannabis establishment licenses

Courtesy photo

STURGIS — Meade County is now accepting applications for medical marijuana licenses.

County officials had hoped to have guidance from the South Dakota Department of Health in place by now concerning licenses, but that has been delayed, Meade County Deputy State’s Attorney Ken Chleborad told county commissioners at their meeting Tuesday.

The DOH recently sent out information in the form of a medical cannabis license checklist, Chleborad said.

“They’re not ready,” he said. “There are also some questions between the counties and the state as to who goes first.”

Chleborad’s directive for the board Tuesday was to determine when they would begin taking applications. He shared that the city of Spearfish has already begun taking applications and have created their own application form.

Chleborad created a form for Meade County which is an abbreviated version of what Spearfish has, he said. Applicants are still required to receive state certification through the DOH before legally operating within the county. Applications for that certification are due to the DOH office by Nov. 1.

“My suggestion is that, like Spearfish, we start taking applications now at the local level,” Chleborad said. “If you apply with the state, you have to have your local (license application). It continues to be a mess.”

Chleborad encouraged the commission to vote Tuesday to have the auditor begin accepting applications immediately. The commission voted 4-1 to approve the application created and effective Tuesday to begin accepting applications. Commissioners Doreen Creed, Ted Seaman, Rich Liggett and Rod Bradley voted in favor of the motion. Commissioner Talbot Wieczorek voted against it.

The medical marijuana establishment license application form will be posted on the Meade County website at meadecounty.org. Once completed, the applicant needs to file the application with the Meade County auditor.

Meade County officials have approved a series of ordinances in recent months regulating the number of cannabis establishments allowable.

The Meade County Commission voted unanimously at its August meeting to set its medical marijuana dispensary license fee at $125,000.

The county will issue just one dispensary license, and no licenses for a cultivation facility, a cannabis testing facility or a cannabis product manufacturing facility.

The licensing will be done through a lottery.

The county’s resolution concerning the lottery says that the names of those applicants who have submitted a valid application for medical cannabis licenses will be drawn at random at the next regularly scheduled open meeting of the Meade County Commission. All applicants’ names will be drawn in order to have a list of alternates should one or more of the winners fail to qualify for a license, the resolution states.

There is a $150 application fee, and the winner of the lottery will have the application fee credited toward the issuance fee for the medical cannabis license.

In 2020, the voters of South Dakota passed Initiated Measure 26 and approved medical marijuana which became legal on July 1. South Dakota joined join 36 other U.S. states where medical marijuana is legal, including neighboring states of North Dakota, Montana and Minnesota.

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