Entries Tagged 'Medical Mary Jane' ↓

Sioux Falls Cannabis Raffle

Guest Post by Emmett Reistroffer

Who wants a dispensary license? Step right up and buy your raffle tickets! No limit on how many tickets you can buy. That’s right folks. Just $75,000 Dollars, now who’s ready to test their odds?

All satire aside, this is a very serious issue and shows why policy details matter. Not only policy details – but how city attorney’s and bureaucrats interpret policies. The Sioux Falls cannabis licensing ordinance (#105-21) clearly states, under Section 121.003 (Licensing of Medical Cannabis Dispensary and Testing Facility), sub-section (a)(E)(2) “Only one application per location is allowed.
At no time during council discussion did the City Attorney point out that this would be interpreted differently. According to the City Attorney, it’s only one application per location, per applicant. “Applicant” is not tied to the individual, but it’s tied to the ‘entity’ which applies. So, Mr. Monopoly can create 100 separate LLCs, and submit 100 separate applications, all listing the same location/address, and thus drastically increase the odds that Mr. Monopoly gets a license over his other less-funded competitors. It’s also not just a matter of who has the most funding at their disposal, but who genuinely follows the process according to the spirit of law versus those who are willing to exploit a “loophole”. Unfortunately, the way loopholes work, it doesn’t matter where you stand on it ethically – the outcome is based entirely on how it stands legally. If it’s legal to form the 100 LLCs and submit 100 applications – then at the end of the day that’s all that matter and the applicant willing to do that absolutely will have the greatest odds at getting a license.

This can be prevented and fixed. The path of least resistance would be for the administration to put its foot down and change its position. The administration should stick to, “only one application per location” per the plain meaning of the language of the ordinance. They could accept an application listing an address, and then deny all other subsequent applications that list the same address (first come first serve), OR the city could just simply deny all applications submitted which list the same address. Either way, if the city is very clear in its position and in the application instructions – then this issue can be easily preventable.

If this requires a policy change, then that’s more difficult. That would require Council to call an emergency meeting and get a majority of council to agree to an amendment. I’m not very optimistic, however I am grateful for Councilors Brekke, Neitzert and Erickson who have all responded to my concern with an open mind, and have indicated they’re all working in various ways to find a solution. However, like I said, an administrative fix would be the quickest and easiest path to a solution, and a legislative fix is up against a tight timeline and would require a majority of council to act in agreement.

Ultimately, if the city doesn’t fix the loophole – then I have no doubt this will end up in the courts and the city attorney’s interpretation will come into question. This will cost the city time and money and delay the opening of medical cannabis dispensaries in Sioux Falls.

Regardless, my group is working to draft an ordinance that is legally sound and based on fairness and gives the voters what they want. Our ordinance will not include a licensing cap or lottery, and it will generally allow a free market – balanced with common sense zoning requirements and setbacks (away from schools, parks, daycares etc.). We don’t want dispensaries to be open on every corner, and we also don’t want the city conducting lotteries or creating processes that allow big money unfair advantage over others.
Here are some links to demonstrate how licensing lotteries are riddled with problems:




Emmett Reistroffer

MJ Advocate Reistroffer proves the incompetence of the City of Sioux Falls Attorney Stacy Kooistra

So Emmett dropped this bomb on the city council last night;

Emmett Reistroffer, a consultant for medical cannabis businesses, believes the current interpretation of the new application process by the city attorney’s office could lead to out-of-state interests exploiting a loophole that could have a business entity or individual submit multiple applications and then squeeze out local business people.

Reistroffer told the City Council during public comment that to ensure a level playing field, they should limit the applications to one per location.

Emmett told me last week he had been in a back and forth with the city attorney’s office about this for weeks with no avail. This is why he showed up during public input last night to inform the council about the issues.

When the MED MJ ordinances were being debated, Councilor Brekke also questioned the City Attorney if the lottery system was even legal. Remember, Janet was the first full-time city attorney, she doesn’t take this lightly.

I have known for a very long time that our city attorney who is trained in military law, knows next to nothing about city law and also struggles with 1st Amendment Constitutional law. Usually if he doesn’t know the answer, he doesn’t answer the question which is happening a lot these days.

Med MJ Dispensaries are bad, but dropping off kids at a Bar Parking lot is okay?

I have been thinking about this for awhile. I drive by this place a couple of times a day, imagine my surprise when I see almost a dozen kids using a bar parking lot as a pickup and drop-off for the school bus. I get it, it is technically the entrance to the trailer park where several school kids live, but to pick this location?

I bring this up because there has been this argument by local government officials that we can’t have MED MJ dispensaries 1,000 feet with-in sensitive use because MJ is harmful and dangerous to children. I will go along for the sake of the argument. But isn’t the perception of using a bar parking lot as a school bus pickup just as ‘dangerous’. Couldn’t the kids be picked up just as easily 1 block east or west?

Also realize that MED MJ can only be purchased at these dispensaries for pain relief, etc. Sales are to be discreet and private within the facility and NO use can proceed on the premises and only allowed in the ADULT customer’s homes. Juxtapoz that with a bar, that clearly has an alcohol sign on the building advertising the consumption of that product on the premise and it is okay to drop kids off right in front of the patrons of this establishment?

We certainly have a whacked view of the dangers of alcohol compared to the dangers of MJ.

Sioux Falls City Council Oblivious to Open Government

After watching the city council meeting tonight and addressing them on open and transparent government I have to admit I have almost given up on educating them about open government. They don’t have a clue.

While discussing the Med MJ ordinance Councilor Selberg admitted that the councilors formed the ordinance privately talking to each other on the phone. Well at least Selberg told the truth even if he is ethically challenged.

Councilor Kiley blew off the supporters of Med MJ at the meeting speaking out as special interests and brought the mysterious folks he got emails from, yet never read a single email or told us who these people are.

I guess in Kiley’s eyes the 75% of Sioux Falls voters that supported Med MJ are special interests and not worth listening to. What arrogance.

If open government was a foot long blunt lit with a blowtorch and smoked by the councilors, they still wouldn’t understand. Baffling.

Lincoln County Commission and Sioux Falls City Council Joint Jurisdiction agreement on MED MJ zoning lacks legal logic

Yesterday at the joint meeting, Lincoln County Commissioner Joel Arends tried to get out of planning staff (both city and county) where they came up with the 1,000 foot setback. Once they rolled out the Mariachi band and did an extensive dance, they still couldn’t give a reason. That’s because it was directly pulled from their behinds. Seeing they were not going to win that argument, the city attorney Paul Bengford decided to move the goal posts and say this was about meeting a deadline and newspapers and NOT the setback. It was quite the turd polishing, and exhibited just how inept our local government officials and appointed staff is.

I think they truly believe the public is that naïve.

But the best part was when Councilor Neitzert said it was ‘absurd’ to allow citizens to vote for the legalization of drugs (marijuana). Waiting for our elected officials to legalize it is even more absurd, because they would never act. I joked to someone before the vote in November that even if the Feds decriminalized MJ today and allowed states to regulate it would take South Dakota a decade to put in the regulations if you waited for the elected officials to act.

The only way anything beneficial to the citizens happens in this state is through direct democracy. Waiting for our representatives to help us is the true measure of absurdity and their war on the initiative and referendum process. Keep poking the bear, because that just emboldens us.

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.

Sioux Falls Mayor TenHaken’s Medical MJ ignorance

While I won’t give Greg Belfrage much credit for normally asking soft-ball questions to local politicians, he threw a real toddler lob at Paul this morning and we finally got to hear what he thinks of Med MJ. Greg’s question was pretty vague, he simply asked Paul to comment on zoning of dispensaries in Sioux Falls. I was thoroughly expecting a non-answer, but he suddenly became fired up, and his true colors showed, or should we say ignorance.

He says that Med MJ doesn’t belong in pharmacies because it is not medicine. Technically, he is correct, it is medicinal which means ‘(of a substance or plant) having healing properties.’ Think Flintstone vitamin that makes you feel funny. He could have left it at that, but then he proceeds to say, ‘It’s NOT medicine because the FDA has not approved it.’ The FDA cannot approve a plant as a drug. Drugs can be patented because they are made of chemical compounds, in labs by chemists and scientists. You cannot patent a plant because it is made by nature.

His second funny, that he actually said first was the real kick in the pants. He said that Med MJ dispensaries are being pushed by ‘Special Interests’. Apparently in Paul’s dark little authoritarian mind 70% of the voters in SD and even a larger percent in Sioux Falls are considered ‘Special Interests’. Special interests are the developers and banksters who funded your campaign so you continue to hand out tax incentives to them. The people who approved this law, in which it states the only zoning restrictions are 1,000 feet from schools were a majority of the voters, a very LARGE majority. Authoritarians hate it when there is direct democracy and the state legislature has been trying to fiddle and f’ck with it for years. Until those rules change, that’s how things are done in South Dakota, and if Mayor TenHaken doesn’t like it, maybe he should resign and go back to being a special interest partisan hack like he was before he took office.

He also says he will be ‘bullish’ about controlling dispensaries in Sioux Falls because he doesn’t want to turn us into San Francisco. Really?! So you will choose to ignore a law that was passed by 70% of the voters because you have a misguided view about cities that have dispensaries? I have never seen so many closed minds surrounding this issue, even the legislature is so scared of the constituents finding out how they are gutting the law, they are meeting in private, which is highly unethical and questionably legal.

The ultimate irony of Mayor Stoneless’ comments today is that he is NOT part of the policy making body of city government per charter. Sure, he is in charge of planning staff, but the City Council and Planning Commission make the final decisions and write the policies when it comes to zoning. The only duty the Mayor has when it comes to policy is breaking ties. I’m still wondering when a councilor, any councilor will get up the courage to file charges against Paul for violating his charter duties. He is NOT supposed to be sponsoring policy legislation. Now he has every right under the 1st Amendment to give his opinion about policy to the council or on a radio interview, he just can’t be writing and sponsoring it. My point is he shouldn’t even be involved with the Med MJ zoning ordinances especially since he doesn’t know the difference between Viagra and a Joint.

As I have mentioned to the Mayor and City Council during public input. Your opinion about a law passed by the voters is NOT your concern, your job as elected officials is to uphold that law to it’s fullest extent.

And BTW, I’m still curious who these mysterious people are that you are trying to protect?

Sioux Falls Planning Commission Member Ervin suddenly concerned about Public Input

While it is no surprise the Planning Commission approved (6-0, 3 absent) the ridiculous Med MJ zoning ordinance with comments about the ‘Safety of the Community’ even though a large majority of Sioux Falls voters supported this, the most humorous statement was from Sean Ervin who suddenly seemed to be concerned about having public input on zoning and planning issues when it comes to selling a harmless plant. In reference to the conditional use process these dispensary owners will have to go through he said this;

‘ . . . there is public input. That’s a real important step for the city of Sioux Falls, it allows people to come and address us . . . and wisdom that comes from this public input for these officials who have to make these tough decisions (councilors) for the whole community, we are trying to protect the community . . .’

I found it a bit ironic that when it comes to a law that was passed by over 70% of Sioux Falls voters and is only approved for medical use, they seem to be trying to ‘protect’ someone with this process. Who?! Yet when it comes to TIFs, tax rebates and handouts and letting developers build whatever they damn well please, where are those protections?

See, Sean, you can’t have it both ways. If you are for Public Input, let’s do it all the way, why not make every single business in this town whether they are selling Med MJ or Cotton Candy come in front of these two bodies and beg for approval, you know, for the safety of the community. I would even argue that Cotton Candy is probably more harmful than MJ.

The rank hypocrisy I see at some of these city meetings is mind boggling. Ironically, I just told Sean and the rest of the Commission at last month’s meeting that their meetings are just some kind of rubber stamp circus, and they didn’t disappoint tonight.

UPDATE: Public input on IM 26 Task Force (after the fact)

FF this Newshour from yesterday to 12:00, it is fascinating the kinds of hoops they make people jump through across the country to sell a harmless plant. The story is about discrimination against minorities who want to own dispensaries, but there are similarities with what we are going through because the fanatics we have in government want to continue the pointless war on marijuana.

Citizens push back on the IM 26 Task Force Recommendations

At the Sioux Falls City Council Informational Meeting yesterday Councilor Neitzert (who was chair of the IM 26 Task Force) gave his analysis on the recommendations for zoning of Medical MJ dispensaries. Besides the possible licensing fee of $140K (that is still being negotiated by the county) there is a 1,000 foot setback from daycares, parks, churches, schools AND single family residential. This of course is ridiculous on many levels. First off, as several commenters pointed out in public input, this is MEDICAL marijuana, not recreational, so essentially these facilities are pharmacies, and secondly it is pretty discreet. Just like going to a Walgreens you will get your prescription and take it home to use. There won’t be people hanging out in the lobby and in front of the dispensaries getting high. Besides, most of Med MJ is in edible form, so you won’t even see people using it.

One cannabis advocate, Emmett Riestroffer pointed out he could only find 2 locations in Sioux Falls you could have dispensaries if this zoning was permitted. One spot was North of the airport and the other was by the wastewater treatment plant. But more importantly Emmett pointed out why they were trying to limit it, because of Mayor TenHaken’s involvement and direction. By charter this is a violation of his legislative duties.

Many advocates came up and talked about the missed business opportunity, the limited access and pending lawsuits. I talked about how the task force met in early morning during the work week at the Downtown library where you have to pay parking. The meetings were NOT recorded, so if you did not attend we have no idea what was talked about.

I think I have a theory of why they are trying to limit access. It’s all part of a bigger effort by the Municipal League to ONLY allow municipalities and counties to own and operate dispensaries. They will likely hire private contractors to run the facilities (friends and business associates of the elected officials) and keep all the profits to themselves shutting out private industry.

You have to remember when it comes to governing in our state, especially locally, it’s always about greed and the connected making money. While they may blame the morality of using MJ (it’s a harmless plant folks) it’s really about control and the authoritarians got there marching orders from the dictator in the corner office.

The Sioux Falls Planning Commission will vote on the proposed ordinance at their August 4 meeting.