Entries Tagged 'Medical Mary Jane' ↓

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 â€˜(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.

1,000 foot setback for Med Cannabis dispensaries is ludicrous

Most setbacks for facilities like this are 300 feet. But the IM 26 task force is suggesting 1,000 feet from parks, schools, churches AND residential. One cannabis advocate said to me, ‘That means NO dispensaries basically anywhere in Sioux Falls. Not on Minnesota Avenue or 41st street.’ They also pointed out to me that when they looked at a map and did a GIS approach to the setback they could only find a couple of spots in Sioux Falls.

The rumor going around is that Mayor TenHaken is the one who instructed the task force to make the setback so strict. I still don’t understand how we continue to allow Sioux Falls Mayors to stick their noses in policy issues. He is violating city charter.

As I have told the mayor and council publicly, your views on the morality of using legal cannabis is NOT your problem. You must uphold the laws on the books and not make it so difficult to distribute a product that the voters of South Dakota deemed legal.

I expect several lawsuits challenging the setback if passed. I also expect it to be passed, because that is what authoritarians do. I also think there could be a petition drive in Sioux Falls to change the setbacks in city ordinance.

And with the delay in the verdict on Amendment A, I don’t expect the SD Supreme Court ruled in favor of it. I think they will agree with the lower court. You also have to remember that the high court takes the summer off, so don’t expect a verdict until this Fall.

IM 26 Task Force Meeting, Wed July 7

I guess 8:30 in the morning, on a Wednesday after a National Holiday at the Library (not recorded) seemed like the most open way to have this meeting. Oh, silly me, I forgot the current council and administration have a deep dark hate towards transparent government;


  1. Introductions
  2. Recap of state and local actions since last meeting
  3. Presentation from planning teams on current joint boundaries and growth areas
  4. Task Force discussion regarding joint jurisdiction framework
  5. Input from non-Task Force municipal representatives
  6. Timelines to adopt a Medical Cannabis Zoning Ordinance (City, County and Joint Jurisdictional)
  7. Additional updates from Taskforce
  8. Next steps
  9. Public Input

I guess I am still clueless why they are meeting since they have already said they will do NOTHING until the state puts together guidelines. No worries, the tribe will hook you up while our county and city doddle.

Minnehaha County Commission proposing Med Mary ordinance identical to the City of Sioux Falls, The Big Stall

This is what happens when our local lawmakers have secret meetings to concoct ordinances without public input. Minnehaha’s ordinance is almost identical to the city’s being voted on Tuesday night.

Will the Tribe in Flandreau be offering Medical Marijuana on July 1st?

Word on the street is if you need Med Mary on July 1st and have a doctor’s prescription you may be able to get it on Tribal land in Flandreau. I have NOT seen the facility, but there have been rumors going around that they will be ready to dispense on July 1st. I am NOT an attorney, so I’m not sure if it will be legal to purchase and transport the Jane to your home off of the reservation to other South Dakota communities, so I guess I would advise anyone who does have a prescription to read the fine print before purchasing it after July 1st.