Medical MJ Ordinances prove Authoritarians are running our city NOT Representatives

The reason we elect a city council and mayor is to have citizen representation when crafting or upholding our laws and ordinances within our city. They should not be injecting their own personal views on those laws they just need to follow them within reason.

The gross abuse of power the Mayor and the Council is showing with the Med MJ ordinance is appalling and shows the stark similarities between how this ordinance is being crafted and how the Events Center was passed.


The Event Center vote was an ‘Advisory Vote’ in other words it had no legal binding, it was just a suggestion to the city council. A little over 50% voted YES. If this would have been a LEGAL bond initiative vote it would have failed because that needs 60% to pass. Of course, a majority of the City Council ignored that fact and voted to pass the Event Center bonds WITHOUT a LEGAL bond election, and without a 60% majority on the advisory election. In other words, we were NOT properly represented by our councilors and mayor.

Fast forward to 2021, and the new mayor and council are back at their old tricks by injecting their personal feelings and opinions of a very small minority of people when crafting Med MJ ordinances. While the news has been reporting about the ridiculous FIVE dispensary rule (while we have hundreds of bars, liquor stores and telephone booth VL casinos) they have avoided talking about the 1,000 foot setback, the conditional use permitting process and most egregious of all the initial $100,000 1st year license fee and $50,000 a year after that (you have to buy a 2 year license for $100,000.) Remember, over 70% of South Dakota voters approved Med MJ and even a higher percentage in Minnehaha County and the City of Sioux Falls. They are totally ignoring the will of the voters and the majority and doing the bare minimum to restrict these dispensaries. I have also heard there was pressure from a certain bank and hospital in town, you can probably guess.

Sadly, according to the city website, these are running rates for alcohol licensing;

Retail On/Off Sale Malt Beverage (yearly renewal) $333.00
Retail On/Off Sale Wine (yearly renewal) $533.00
Package Liquor (yearly renewal) $533
Retail Liquor (Bar) One time License Fee $192,393 with a yearly renewal fee of $1,500

You could either argue that the licensing fees of alcohol (a narcotic, not a plant) is too low, or the licensing of Med MJ is too high, but they are grossly mismatched. And where did the $100K fee come from? It is obvious it was pulled from their behinds and isn’t based on any economic or financial data, it’s just vindictive. Also factor in that dispensaries would be selling a harmless plant discreetly for medicinal use and no product can be used on the premise. It’s no different than picking up vitamins at Wayne & Mary’s. The immense ignorance and dictatorship like actions taken by Mayor TenHaken and the City Council are extremely worrisome and concerning. This is why most of this ordinance was crafted in secrecy, they know it is unethical and wrong.

I also think this is a part of a statewide effort to punish voters and petitioners for passing their own laws. Just look how they gutted the minimum wage (for teenagers) transparency laws, Rec MJ and the list goes on and on. They hate the initiative process because it strips them of their authority and they seek to punish anyone who dares to participate in it. I joked that even if Med MJ passed with 99.9% of the vote, they would still move to limit it. Their greed and power sees no limits and they have no shame about it.

There is a silver lining though.

I’m guessing there will be immense pushback from the industry, and I am also guessing it’s going to be very public and very intense and will hopefully expose who is leading this city into a dictatorship. Get out the popcorn folks because it’s going to be quite a show watching the rats run for their holes but this time they may have no where to hide.


#1 Steve on 08.13.21 at 7:42 pm

Just more evidence of the arrogance and ignorance of this strong arm Mayor and his crew of bobble-head rubber stamping Council members.

#2 Mike Lee Zitterich on 08.14.21 at 1:12 am

you guys jumping to conclusions, you dont know where the council stands at the moment, you got 2 readings of the ordinance coming, and you dont know what amendments will be made, you all will have 9 minutes of public input this coming Tuesday, and you will have another 13 minutes of public input at 2nd Reading. Dont make assumptions. The COUNCIL could be bringining their own version or changes.

#3 D@ily Spin on 08.14.21 at 7:50 am

The mayor and council has become an unnecessary group of narcissists. They believe in themselves without conscience for others. MJ business will put the city in court at major expense. Realistically, this matter has made pot popular. It’s legal in small quantity. There’s gonna be lots of street deals where licensing cost and location restrictions are nonexistent. You gotta get your dope from a minority with low rider pants instead of a business person wearing a tie.

#4 l3wis on 08.14.21 at 9:53 am

Oh, I think there will be amendments, but I think they will die or not have any impact if they pass. As I understand it, the negotiations are already done, those were done in secret. As former school board president once said to a city councilor a few years ago when discussing how the city council meetings get a little volatile sometimes, ‘We work that all out (in private) before the public meeting.’

#5 Tim on 08.14.21 at 1:03 pm

Has a law ever been written that did not have a personal view injected into it?

Voters authorized sales to be legal. They also authorized local authorities to regulate. Just because the proposed regulation doesn’t match your preference doesn’t make them wrong.

How does one determine if regulation is fair? They are elected to set regulations for this type of thing. Vote them out if you don’t like how they govern. There is no abuse of power unless I’m missing some law that is not being followed. They are following the process of bringing an ordinance forward which will set regulation. Sounds like good government. Now the public can speak out during first and second reading.

#6 l3wis on 08.14.21 at 1:29 pm

Tim, thanks for you opinion you make good points. The problem with the proposed ordinance is that the limitations are NOT within reason. NO other business has these kind of regulations. NONE. We act as though they are opening a Meth dispensary. Do you believe anyone would be able to open a dispensary that limits it to 1,000 feet, $100k license fee and a NO signage rule? This will turn people to the black market. As for the public weighing in, that should have been done on the back end, not behind closed doors in the mayor’s office. When I talk about open and transparent government, I mean thru the whole process, not at the end. Like I said, you make good points, but when it comes to this particular ordinance, your arguments are unreasonable.

#7 D@ily Spin on 08.14.21 at 2:56 pm

Pharmacies are more than 1,000′ apart. Not because of city nonsense. Because there aren’t enough customers. Marijuana outlets are commercial business. Regulating them more than Walgreens or Walmart will be one subject in a lawsuit. There’s gonna be the 20+ employees in the city attorney office measuring 1,000′. They need something to do so no problem. This is another 1920’s prohibition. I can’t wait for the StoneEasys with passwords and a provocative dance craze. It’s time for a return to short dresses with tassels. Law enforcement will be exceptionally busy with frivolous crimes while felons keep up dope supply between the neon pot places. There’s no common sense that comes from Frat boy decisions before city council commandments.

#8 Mike Lee Zitterich on 08.14.21 at 3:00 pm

If you do not like the proposed ordinance, by the way there are two of them on the “Agenda” this coming Tuesday, so you will get a total of 6 minutes to speak, plus you can come back after the meeting to speak for another 3 minutes on what you think of general government and the explain your thoughts of the manner of which your City Council, the Mayor, the City governs the city thru this process. That is a total of 9 minutes you can speak your mind. Maybe, it changes a few things on the ordinance for the 2nd Reading.

Then the following City Council Meeting, you will again have both ordinances on the agenda, but this time you will get to speak for 5 minutes each time, for a total of 10 minutes, plus come back at the end of the meeting to speak for 3 more minuts to explain your thoughts on the manner of which the City Council, the Mayor, the City governs this little city.

And if these ordinances do pass, and you still DO NOT like how they are written, do not forget, you got 20 days to “REFER” them back to the Voters for a public vote on both ordinances, thus you can create further more, more public discussion, plus the chance to convince the voters to ‘vote down’ both ordinances.

What would it mean to you if you are able to convince the voters to VOTE DOWN both ordinances at a publically held VOTE?

IF you are all well ‘organized’ as you claim to be, a REFERENDUM is not out of the question.

Am I correct here?

IF you hate the ordinances, but fail to stand your ground, and simply allow Government to run over you, when “YOU” have the POWER to consent or not to consent, it can only be “your fault” not the governments fault.

#9 l3wis on 08.14.21 at 5:33 pm

We have a representative government NOT representing us, that is the issue here. As for the REF, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Med MJ advocates do it, and are successful with getting the sigs and the vote, but as I said in the first sentence, they shouldn’t have to.

#10 l3wis on 08.14.21 at 6:16 pm

#11 Mike Zitterich on 08.14.21 at 7:07 pm

Why should they not have to? EVERYONE has the ability to refer a law back to the voters for any reason or another. “WE” challenged and took AMENDMENT A to the courts cause ‘we’ felt it was not constitutional, so you guys have to do the same thing onthis issue if thats the case.

I say, REFER ‘every’ law to the voters, every damn law !!!

#12 D@ily Spin on 08.15.21 at 2:39 pm

True, there’s an appeals process. However, the charter gives the mayor power to ignore it. Huether built the events center, the aquatics center, a private parking ramp, and his own indoor tennis club without public votes. Try like I did to navigate the layers of hearings. You’re denied the right for evidence or witnesses. You can’t sue unless it’s constitutional grounds. They appeal into SD Supreme Court. You’ll win but it’s thin air constitutional without compensation. They’re still working on masks while nobody wears one. They’ll be working on pot store placement until MJ growers bribe them. They’ve earned my disrespect and that of others. Most drink the Kool Aid. I prefer THC gummies.

#13 D@ily Spin on 08.15.21 at 2:52 pm

Home Rule Charter makes Sioux Falls sovereign like an Indian reservation or territory (ie Puerto Rico). The city accepts money from state and federal meant for public benefit. Some reaches what it’s meant for. The rest gets questionably disbursed as TIF’s or Covid stimulus that benefits developers and brother-in-laws.

#14 Brain Drain from S. Dakota on 08.16.21 at 9:29 am

“Also factor in that dispensaries would be selling a harmless plant discreetly for medicinal use and no product can be used on the premise. It’s no different than picking up vitamins at Wayne & Mary’s.” Dude! Spoken like a stoner! Yeah!