Medical cannabis regulations discussed in Turner County

Cannabis Industry Association of South Dakota (CIASD) Executive Director Ned Norsted providing some suggestions to the county commissioners during last week’s meeting regard medical cannabis ordinance. Photo/Dawn Rye

Dawn Rye | Writer

State-level marijuana liberalization policies have been evolving for the past five decades, yet the overall scientific evidence of the impact is widely inconclusive. Although federal law has prohibited the use since 1937, medical cannabis is currently legal in 37 states.

During last week’s Turner County commissioners meeting, a motion was made to adopt the ordinance that permits the use of medical cannabis. 

Cannabis Industry Association of South Dakota (CIASD) Executive Director Ned Norsted explained that he attended local government meetings since voters approved medical cannabis.  

Norsted reviewed the ordinance portion pertaining to medical cannabis cultivation facility. The ordinance stats that all relevant standards and requirements found within Turner County shall apply. No medical cannabis cultivation facility may commence operations until receiving both an annual license and a registration certification by the state.

Great Plains Agricultural Group member Doug Almond said he worked with Norsted and found that the City of Viborg has property that would fit a cannabis cultivation/manufacturing project.

Next, the board discussed ordinance #82-21 for permitting the sale and consumption of medical cannabis. Almond read Section 4 of the ordinance -no medical or other cannabis establishments other than a medical cannabis dispensary shall be permitted to operate within the jurisdictional limits of the county. His interpretation would only allow dispensaries to work in Turner County, excluding manufacturing or cultivation.

Norsted said the ordinance is very similar to Minnehaha County, one of the most restrictive in the state, allowing one dispensary. He believes Turner County residents voted 70 percent on IM26, and he feels it would be short-sided to take away the opportunity for other businesses to come in and work in the county. With the state starting to approve licenses, the cities with an open market approach will do very well in business. 

“The important thing in mind is the industry is launching right now,” commented Norsted.

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