With Sioux Falls’ five medical marijuana licenses tentatively assigned to businesses, we’re finally getting a clearer picture of what the newest industry could look like in the coming months.
While there were concerns from some that the city’s fees and regulations could result in national companies taking over medical cannabis sales while local businesses struggled to nab one of the city’s five licenses, Wednesday’s lottery results have created a seemingly-even spread for the five-dispensary cap on licenses in Sioux Falls.
The Flower Shop LLC and East River Farms LLC both had the only application they turned in selected for a license, and PJS Holdings made the cut from only two submissions.
Turning in multiple applications wasn’t totally a losing strategy, however. Genesis Farms LLC had one of its 26 applications selected, to the delight of Emmett Reistroffer, a regular critic of the city’s approach to marijuana as well as a founding partner and project manager for the business.
More: Five hopeful businesses chosen in medical marijuana dispensary license lottery
Deja Vu SD LLC saw one of its eight applications approved as well. The business is associated with Nirvana Center, a company that has a presence in other states including Arizona, Maryland and Michigan, said Taylor Sare, the director of expansion.
And if there are no problems with the applications from those five businesses, medical cannabis will be sold almost entirely in southern Sioux Falls.
Deja Vu SD’s proposed location at 1421 B Avenue is just south of the Sioux Falls Regional Airport, but the remaining four locations are clustered in southwestern Sioux Falls, with Genesis Farms’ location just barely inside city limits.
And as all the applicants are astutely aware, being selected in the lottery doesn’t mean they’re in the clear. Licensing Specialist Jamie Palmer still must examine the selected applications to determine whether they fully meet the city’s requirements.
The prospective business owners may also need to apply for a conditional use permit to use their proposed location — something they must do within 10 days of being notified they are eligible for the license.
While marijuana testing facilities are allowed in Sioux Falls, as of Wednesday, there had not been any applications submitted, although they are not limited in number like dispensaries are.
More: Lincoln County will examine first license to grow, manufacture medical marijuana
Marijuana cultivation and manufacturing facilities are not allowed in city limits, a point of frustration for business owners who had hoped for “vertical integration” of the various business types in one area.
But on Nov. 23 in Lincoln County, which adopted regulations that were less strict than Sioux Falls, commissioners will consider an application for Culture Shock LLC to manufacture and cultivate marijuana.
Another point looming large over the discussions around medical cannabis is Amendment A, which legalizes recreational marijuana and is currently tied up in the South Dakota Supreme Court.
The concerns around recreational marijuana from government, law enforcement and others have far outweighed those around medical marijuana, and Mayor Paul TenHaken as well as members of the Sioux Falls City Council have made it clear that if legalized, the regulations will not be identical.
So if you thought the road to get to medical cannabis was long, confusing and controversial? Hold on tight.
This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Sioux Falls’ marijuana licenses are tentatively assigned. What’s next?