Permitting process for medical marijuana underway in SD

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota Department of Health is beginning to issue medical marijuana cards, but officials say it could be months before dispensaries will have anything to sell.

Municipalities across the state are also receiving applications for permits from those who want to open a dispensary. The businesses must sell marijuana that is grown in the state. And, with no cultivation facilities licensed in South Dakota, the dispensaries, for now, will have nothing to sell.

Importing cannabis products across state lines remains a federal offense.

State health officials say they’ve received 11 cultivation applications. Commercial grow facilities are now going through the state and local application process. It could take months for them to begin selling cannabis.

In the meantime, medical marijuana cardholders can grow up to three marijuana plants for personal use.

Cities have taken different approaches to selling medical marijuana. Yankton will permit two medical cannabis dispensaries.

“Once those two applicants get state approval, they still have to do a certificate of occupancy with the city,” said Lisa Yardley, the city’s deputy finance officer. “They still have to do a site permit. They still have to do any building permits, building inspection. They are not operational until they meet those standards.”

Yankton will not allow any marijuana cultivation or processing operations.

Across the state, Rapid City is allowing 15 dispensaries within city limits. That’s three times as many as the city of Sioux Falls, the state’s largest city.