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Posted on: June 9, 2021

Spearfish setting zoning regulations, licensing provisions for cannabis establishments

City of Spearfish

SPEARFISH, SD – In preparation for the July 1 effective date for Initiated Measure 26, the voter-approved medical marijuana measure, the Spearfish City Council is updating City Code to set zoning regulations and licensing provisions for cannabis establishments.

Monday, the City Council approved the first reading of Ordinance 1345, which creates zoning regulations for cannabis establishments, providing appropriate land use locations for the four primary categories of cannabis operations: growing, testing, manufacturing (converting the plant into personal care or edible products), and dispensing (retail of the above in the consumable form).

City Planner Jayna Watson explained that because the state has not yet created rules for the cannabis industry, the proposed ordinance mirrors state law in terms of uses and regulations to be applied, knowing that adjustments will be needed as the state finalizes regulations.

The proposed text states, “In order to balance the various interests and manage the effects cannabis establishments have on adjacent land uses and to promote the public health, safety, and general welfare of the city, the Common Council adopts the following regulations, recognizing that it has a great interest in the present and future character of the city’s residential and commercial neighborhoods.” The regulations are not intended to unreasonably restrict the opportunity of cannabis establishment; they are intended to prevent a concentration of cannabis establishments in any one area.

The following cannabis establishments (cultivation, testing, product manufacturing, dispensary) are permitted in the following zoning districts (provided they are not located or operating within 1,000 feet of a school, residence, or religious institution, which is prohibited):

  • Cultivation facilities – permitted in Agricultural; Light/Restrictive Industrial; and Heavy Industrial districts
  • Testing facilities – permitted in Agricultural; Office Commercial; Light/Restrictive Industrial; and Heavy Industrial districts
  • Product Manufacturing facilities – permitted in Agricultural; Highway Service Commercial; Light/Restrictive Industrial; and Heavy Industrial districts
  • Dispensaries – permitted in Light/Restrictive Industrial; and Heavy Industrial districts

The Council determined cannabis establishments would not be permitted in the Central Commercial (downtown) district.

The first reading of Ordinance 1346, which creates licensing provisions for cannabis establishments, was also approved Monday. City Attorney Ashley McDonald explained a cannabis establishment would need a registration certificate from the state Department of Health in addition to a license from the City to operate, and the ordinance sets forth the licensing process.

It outlines the application process and fee; how licenses would be issued; what is allowed/not allowed by license holders; expiration/renewal; suspension; revocation; appeal process; etc.

The ordinance states that initially, there would be two licenses available per category for manufacturing, testing, and cultivation facilities, with one license available for a dispensary, and there are metrics built in for the number of licenses to increase with corresponding population growth in Spearfish.

When discussing the number of licenses set forth in the ordinance, Mayor Dana Boke explained that as the state law goes into effect, she felt it best to start small, with the option to increase, versus overestimating.

“As we go into new territory, slow and safe is probably the best way we need to go, in accordance with state law,” she said. “As state law is more defined, our ordinances will be adapted to remain in line.”

The second reading for Ordinance 1345 and 1346 will take place at the June 26 City Council meeting. Should they be approved, they would become effective July 16.

The drafts of the ordinances are available in the Council Packet.

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