Spearfish cleans up pot licenses | Local News

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SPEARFISH – As the South Dakota Department of Health (DOH) and state lawmakers strive to define the rules for the use of medical cannabis statewide, counties and cities are focusing on their own prescriptions to govern the application and use of the drug.

Earlier this summer, Spearfish City Council passed Order 1346, which sets several licensing standards for cannabis establishments located within city limits.

“The regulations specify what a licensed person can and cannot do and if they do any of the things they cannot do, there is a process to suspend the license. , revoke the license and then the entity can appeal those determinations, ”said Ashley McDonald, lawyer for the Town of Spearfish during the first reading of the order in June.

Since then, city officials have identified a few areas in the ordinance that needed to be revised to accommodate directions coming from the state.

“We had drafted these prescriptions without reference to medical cannabis, so we would have a regulatory structure in which to step in if the Supreme Court made its decision on recreational marijuana before the DOH rules were passed,” it reads. a statement from the city attorney’s office.

The city has changed its licensing ordinance guidelines to specifically address only medical marijuana establishments, while the Supreme Court and state legislature are considering options for legalizing recreational use. In addition to restricting the scope of the laws, the city has also made changes regarding the actual issuance of the licenses themselves.

“Minor changes,” McDonald said. “Some of them include changing the expiration date of the license from one year from the date of issue to a fixed date for each of the licenses, regardless of the date of issue of the first one. . … We added license fees, previously we only had application fees, it was an oversight in the drafting of the original order.

According to the revised ordinance, all licenses will expire on December 31 of the year of issue, a step taken to make it easier for the finance office to track these expirations. All renewal requests and fees must be returned no later than 30 days prior to that date. The original prescription issued an application fee of $ 5,000, but due to uncertainty over the success of medical marijuana programs locally and in the state, the city will reserve the setting of this application fee and license until there is a clearer picture of these programs. In addition, these fees will be set by resolution rather than by order. Resolutions can be adopted immediately by order of the council, unlike ordinances, which require multiple readings and publication in the official reference journal before entering into force.

“It becomes very heavy for us to have to change them,” said McDonald.

The city still limits the number of licenses allowed for any cannabis cultivation, manufacturing or testing facility to two, with one license available for a dispensary. In anticipation of having more applicants than licenses available, the new ordinance sets out how the city will decide who gets the license.

“So what we will do is we will set a deadline to apply for a license and then we will verify those applications, make sure they comply with our ordinances and the rules and requirements of the DOH,” said McDonald. . “And then everyone who does will go to a lottery and a public meeting, and a board meeting, we will choose who gets a license.”

The ordinance will have its second reading at the next regular meeting of Spearfish City Council scheduled for October 4.

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