STURGIS — Meade County will establish a lottery for its lone medical marijuana dispensary license.
“This is all new for everybody. We may not get anybody who wants the license,” Meade County Commissioner Rich Liggett said Sept. 14 at the commission meeting.
Ken Chleborad, Meade County Chief Deputy States Attorney, said the lottery would not “kick in” if there was only one applicant. Instead, it would be a first-come, first-served, he said.
The Meade County Commission voted unanimously to approve a resolution on the issuance of new medical cannabis establishment licenses.
Applicants may apply for the available licenses beginning Oct. 4, or the date the state of South Dakota begins accepting applications, whichever occurs later, by submitting an application packet to the Meade County Auditor.
According to the resolution, the names of those applicants who have submitted a valid application for medical cannabis licenses would be drawn at random at the next regularly scheduled open meeting of the Meade County Commission. All applicants’ names will be drawn in order to have a list of alternates should one or more of the winners fail to qualify for a license, the resolution states.
There is a $150 application fee, and the winner of the lottery will have the application fee credited toward the issuance fee for the medical cannabis license.
Chleborad said he had spoken with other counties, the South Dakota Department of Revenue and the Department of Health about holding an auction to sell its medical marijuana dispensary license to the highest bidder.
“They don’t believe an auction is allowed,” Chleborad told the commissioners this week.
The county has had one inquiry asking when the county would start taking applications for the dispensary license, Chleborad said.
The Department of Health issued its regulations concerning medical cannabis this week and are set to be in place by Oct. 4, Chleborad said.
The Meade County Commission voted unanimously at its August meeting to set its medical marijuana dispensary license fee at $125,000. Meade County Commission Chairman Ted Seaman asked Chleborad if he believed the county would be challenged on the $125,000 fee they are seeking.
“I don’t really think so,” Chleborad said.
While attending the South Dakota Association of County Commissioners annual meeting in Rapid City, Seaman said he was surprised to learn that many counties had set their license fee at $5,000.
“We were looking at more of what people were willing to pay for liquor licenses,” Seaman said.
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