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Rapid City medical cannabis rules to go into effect in October
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Rapid City medical cannabis rules to go into effect in October

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Medical cannabis establishment rules in Rapid City will go into effect Oct. 2 after legal publication following a City Council vote on Monday.

The ordinance will limit the number of dispensaries to about 15 within city limits. The limit is one dispensary per 5,000 in the city's population.

The council approved the ordinance 8-1 with council member Bill Evans voting no. Council member John Roberts was absent from Monday's meeting.

Evans said he voted no on the ordinance because he believes the market should decide the number of dispensaries, or the city should have its own facility.

"We continuously from up here talk about the inadequate funding for the city budget," he said.

Council member Pat Jones cautioned the council and community members that the dispensaries approved could turn into recreational marijuana dispensaries.

"These 15 medical ones, whatever date that becomes, in a puff of smoke, will become recreational and make a difference and impact on our community," Jones said.

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Businesses who apply for a medical cannabis and receive a license will have one year to get the business up and running, if good cause is shown to the finance director, for licenses issued in 2021 and 2022. Licenses will be $5,000. For the first year, the cost is broken down to $1,500 for the nonrefundable application fee and $3,500 for the license itself. Each year, the license renewal fee will be $5,000.

Applicants will be required to submit a separate applications for each type of establishment. There are four establishments possible in regards to medical cannabis, which includes dispensaries, testing, cultivation and manufacturing facilities. There is not a limit to the number of non-dispensary facilities able to be within city limits.

The council approved the first reading of the ordinance 7-1 with Evans voting no at the Sept. 7 meeting.

The council also approved the first reading of the zoning ordinance 9-0 for all medical cannabis establishments. The Planning Commission previously sent the ordinance to council with a 9-0 vote.

All facilities would need to be at least 1,000 feet away from public or private schools. Cultivation and manufacturing facilities wouldn't be able to be within 500 feet of a child care center, church, public park or property zoned as residential. Dispensaries would be able to operate within 500 feet of a child care center, church, public park or property zoned as residential if it was granted a conditional use permit.

All facilities would need to be in enclosed structures, submit an operational plan that details compliance with laws, administrative rules and ordinances; submit a waste management plan, an odor plan; a survey stamped by a professional surveyor; and registration with the state Department of Health.

The second reading for the zoning ordinance will be at the first October council meeting.

— Contact Siandhara Bonnet at siandhara.bonnet@rapidcityjournal.com

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