The Fort Pierre City Council held two meetings this week to gather its proposed rules on medical marijuana establishments before the South Dakota Department of Health promulgates its own rules by its October deadline.
City of Fort Pierre Finance Officer Roxanne Heezen provided the Capital Journal with copies of Ordinances 1053 and 1054 as they are expected to be presented at Tuesday’s meeting of the Fort Pierre City Council. Notable changes from prior drafts of the ordinances include:
Under Ordinances 1053 and 1054, the City of Fort Pierre will allow three dispensaries to operate within city limits. That number was previously one.
Under Ordinances 1053 and 1054, the City of Fort Pierre will allow three cannabis manufacturing and cultivating facilities to operate within city limits as long as they exist “in conjunction” with dispensaries. The number for both facilities was previously zero, and the city still will not allow any testing facilities within city limits.
Under Ordinance 1053, all “cannabis establishment activities” must take place indoors.
Under Ordinance 1053, it is explicitly stated that the set dispensary hours of 7 a.m. MST to 7 p.m. MST only affect when the dispensary is allowed to be open to the public.
Under Ordinance 1054, a dispensary must be open to the public at least 60 percent of the days of its license year, with an exception made for an initial “start-up period” of 12 months if the dispensary operates in conjunction with a cultivating facility.
Under Ordinance 1054, if more application are received by the city than there are licenses available and all applicants are equally qualified, the license will be issued to the qualified applicant who was first received.
All of these changes are not yet final and go before the City Council during its Tuesday’ meeting.
Fort Pierre Mayor Gloria Hanson told the Capital Journal the experience of drafting Ordinances 1053 and 1054 has been a learning one for city officials.
“We are in a definite time crunch to get this done and we have to admit that we weren’t very educated on the whole industry,” Hanson said. “And so that has been a quick process for us to learn quickly and get on board with how it would work and how it would affect our community. And so I think it’s moving along well. We know that when the Department of Health regulations come out, there can very well be changes. We also know there will be legislation introduced in this session of the legislature that could make some changes, so we think that this is not the final draft, at all.”
Heezen agreed with Hanson’s assessment that Friday’s drafts are not going to be the final word on medical marijuana in Fort Pierre.
“I’m imagining we’ll have to amend these as we go,” Heezen said. “We might find that things that aren’t realistic that are in here or things that are really important that we don’t have included. So we’ll just have to work the kinks out as it gets put into practice.”
Heezen said the amount of work that has gone into the ordinances on her part has been about what she expected, though it has been a lot.
“I anticipated it being a lot because, I mean, I know that the state’s still sorting through a lot, so that’s where some of the things may change too, based on if anything changes from the state level,” Heezen said. “So there’s just a lot of information and a lot of circumstances, I guess, to sort through.”
Having received first reading Thursday afternoon, Ordinances 1053 and 1054 are up for second reading and approval at Tuesday’s meeting of the Fort Pierre City Council.