Set For Medical Cannabis

The permitting process for medical cannabis dispensaries in Yankton officially opened this week.

Yankton City Manager Amy Leon told the Press & Dakotan that, during Monday’s meeting of the Yankton City Commission, the board held a first-reading on one of the last actions it needs to take — barring additional state regulation — to allow medical cannabis dispensaries in the city limits.

“What was on the agenda for first-reading (Monday) was to include medical cannabis dispensaries in the list of permitted principle uses in the B-2 Highway Business District and the B-3 Central Business District and Industrial District. What this ordinance does is, it supports what’s been adopted on the medical cannabis dispensary ordinance the commission previously adopted this summer.”

A second reading is set for the Aug. 23 meeting, with the zoning ordinance change becoming active in September.

Leon said this is likely the last action that the city will take since fees and the original ordinance have already been set. She said interested parties can begin applying for a permit under the city’s guidelines.

“Folks can apply today, and we already have a hearty list of interested parties who can apply today for the license,” she said. “What we will do is follow our license ordinance, which the commission acted on, and move those who pass our review forward to the state.”

She warned there is the possibility that further action will be needed on the part of the city and potentially applicants.

“Where the commission may need to act again, is if we hear something or some rules come down through the state review — which I believe is happening this or next week — in contrast to our existing ordinances, we may need to make some amendments and that would require action,” she said.

Leon said around 10 serious inquiries have been received with a further 10-20 “curious” inquiries about dispensary permits in the city. Under the ordinance passed earlier this summer, up to two permits would be awarded. Applicants would also pay a non-refundable $1,500 to the city for the permitting process. Renewal of the license would cost $3,000 annually.

Leon said anyone who is interested in applying should also consider speaking with legal counsel along the way.

“We think that this is new enough in our state and new enough to our community that, if somebody is really interested in applying, it would probably be in their best interest to have the guidance of legal counsel as they go through the application process,” she said. “Certainly, you don’t want to leave any stone unturned in this matter.”

She said the city is also warning applicants to be ready for potential tweaks as state codes are established.

“We are also telling applicants that if the state develops something that is in contrary to what we’ve passed, we’re going to have to probably have them make some adjustments to the application,” she said.

The first round of applications will be accepted through Sept. 10. A written decision on the part of the city will be issued to applicants within 30 days of filing. After review, the approved applications will be forwarded to the state for further consideration.

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For more information on applying for a medical cannabis dispensary license, visit https://www.cityofyankton.org/departments-services/finance-office/licensing/medical-cannabis-dispensary-business-license.

Follow @RobNielsenPandD on Twitter.

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