First State-Licensed Medical Dispensary Set to Open in South Dakota

First State-Licensed Medical Dispensary Set to Open in South Dakota
High Times

It has been more than a year since the new medical cannabis law in South Dakota officially took effect, but there are still no state-approved dispensaries serving patients. That is about to change. Next week, when Unity Rd. opens its doors in Hartford, South Dakota––a town of about 3,300 located just outside Sioux Falls, the state’s largest city––it will make history as the first state-licensed medical cannabis dispensary in the Mount Rushmore State. “We were really pushing hard to get that number one on the door to be the first legal, state-issued license,” B.J. Olson, one of the co-owners of Unity Rd., told the Argus Leader newspaper. “That doesn’t happen, unless you have your foot on the gas from the beginning.” “We bought the property, we began building the building with no piece of paper, and worst case, we decided we’re gonna build a beautiful structure to lease to somebody and best case, we’re going to be the first dispensary in the state,” said Adam Jorgenson, the other co-owner. According to the Argus Leader, “Unity Rd. is a franchise and also has shops in Oklahoma and Colorado.” Voters in South Dakota overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure in 2020 that legalized medical cannabis treatment in the state. The law officially took effect on July 1, 2021, well before the state had begun issuing licenses for would-be dispensaries. But members of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe opened a dispensary shortly after the official start date last summer, bringing tension between the tribe and the state. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and other state officials have said that they will not recognize medical cannabis cards issued to individuals who are not members of the tribe. The Argus Leader reported that, as of February, “the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe [had] issued about 8,000 medical marijuana…

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