RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) – Some medical cannabis dispensary owners say Rapid City doesn’t need additional dispensaries in the area.
A request from the owner of Black Hills Weed Shop, Michael Graham made a request to the city council to discuss reducing the available dispensary licenses from 15 down to nine.
The letter from Graham claims Rapid City has a “surplus of cannabis dispensaries.”
However, the CEO of Puffy’s Dispensary, Kittrick Jefferies disagrees saying that this is simply an attempt to monopolize the local industry and that reducing the number of licenses would negatively impact patient access.
”What that piece of legislation is trying to do is capitalize on market share by reducing the number of licenses in Rapid City. They don’t want patient access, they want more money for their own pocketbooks,” Jefferies said.
The item was postponed to be discussed at a later date.
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Sioux Falls lawyer Ryan Kolbeck typically doesn’t deal with legal questions about hunting licenses.
The criminal defense attorney did field multiple calls on the topic in the days following the November 8 election, however. They started coming in shortly after it became clear that South Dakota voters had voted to reject the legalization of recreational cannabis.
Each question had the same framing: Since federal law prohibits gun ownership by habitual marijuana users—or users of any substance federal classified as “illicit”—would they be able to obtain both a medical marijuana card and a hunting license in the state of South Dakota?
“You have to register with the state [to use medical marijuana], which is different from any other medication,” Kolbeck said. “People were wondering if the state of South Dakota could be trusted, basically.”
The callers had waited out the election, Kolbeck said, hoping a win for recreational marijuana would preclude them from applying for a medical marijuana card that would put their names on a state-held list.
The question was based more on speculation and suspicion of lawmakers than any official guidelines, Kolbeck said, but those suspicions aren’t especially uncommon in states with medical marijuana programs. The issue of hunting licenses comes up in online forums, and gun rights issues have bubbled over into state government action elsewhere.
In Minnesota, concerns over gun permits sparked the introduction of a bill that would have reclassified cannabis to allow medical users to own firearms.
In Oregon, the state pharmacy board re-classified the drug as schedule II, in part to clear a path for firearms permits.
The question of hunting license losses, or even a loss of gun rights, is “theoretical,” according to marijuana activist Matthew Schweich. Even so, Schweich is unsurprised to hear that the question arose in South Dakota.
“It’s really just a question of whether the [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms] would try to get records from states on medical cannabis and use them to say that someone was dishonest on the forms,” said Schweich, who helped back the 2020 medical marijuana initiative and the failed 2022 recreational marijuana use measure. “At this point, I’m not aware of that ever happening.”
Obtaining a hunting license is different from purchasing a firearm or getting a firearms permit, of course. Different states have different rules on concealed carry permits that are separate from federal rules. Unlike Oregonians, for example, South Dakotans can carry firearms—concealed or otherwise—without a permit.
And in South Dakota, the use of medical cannabis does not prevent anyone from getting a hunting license.
“If they just simply have a medical marijuana card, one, we wouldn’t check that, but two, it wouldn’t prevent them from getting a license,” said John Kanta, a section chief for the Game, Fish & Parks (GF&P) Department.
There are things that could disqualify a person from a hunting license, though. Someone with more than $1,000 in unpaid child support, for example, would be ineligible, as would a felon.
But those disqualifying issues would only come up if the applicant brought them up, Kanta said. There are a series of boxes the applicant must check to confirm eligibility, with a catch-all box at the end of the process.
“There’s a statement they agree to to say that they are, in fact, eligible for the license,” Kanta said.
No one at the GF&P runs background checks to confirm the accuracy of the statement, though. Marijuana use wouldn’t cause trouble for a hunter unless a game officer caught someone shooting under the influence or otherwise violating hunting laws, Kanta said.
All of which means Kolbeck’s clients are in the clear if they decide to seek a medical marijuana card for chronic pain or another qualifying condition.
Ultimately, however, the mismatch between federal laws on marijuana and state laws that allow medical or recreational use—there are 38 states with one or both—is liable to remain a source for concerns about gun rights, Schweich said. If Congress took steps to reclassify the drug, those theoretical worries would evaporate.
“What we really need is federal reform,” Schweich said.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Puffy’s Dispensary recently on Main Street Sturgis. Kittrick Jeffries, CEO, and his mother cut the ribbon, with friends, family, and community leaders.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s been 895 days since the vote was taken to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana in South Dakota. That vote passed, but of course, we know what came next. A legal challenge to the vote was taken to court, and the recreational marijuana provision was overturned, deemed unconstitutional.
Now, in 2023, the medical marijuana industry continues to pick up steam. These are somewhere in the range of 25 operating state licensed dispensaries operating in the state, as well as a medical program operated by the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, and recreational and medical programs run by the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
Per the latest update by the state on April 17, there are 8,997 approved patient cards issued in the state, and 212 practitioners approved to recommend medical cannabis use.
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) – Medical marijuana is a growing industry in South Dakota and Thursday Sturgis welcomed a new competitor to the trade.
Puffy’s dispensary opened it’s Sturgis doors to patients Thursday with an honorary ribbon cutting ceremony.
People with a medical marijuana card will be able to purchase a variety of products ranging from flowers to THC concentrates. Owner Kittrick Jeffries says medical marijuana can be an alternative to painkillers which have created an addiction problem for many people.
“I know that there are some issues with opioids and overdoses and things like that this is just a safer alternative for patients and it’s just wonderful that we are able to open on the national cannabis holiday,” said Jeffries.
“The Northern Hills has a great community we’ve seen that with a couple of other dispensaries that have opened up in Lead, Deadwood, Spearfish, Belle Fourche, and even Newell we’re just very fortunate to be a part of this Northern Hills cannabis community,” said Jeffries.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Though medical marijuana officially became legal in South Dakota in July, 2021, it was more than a year before cardholders in the state were able to walk through the doors of a licensed dispensary.
From January 1, 2022, to December 30, 2022, the state of the marijuana industry in South Dakota has gone through major changes.
This year has seen a steady increase in medical marijuana patient cardholders, the development of a number of different cultivation businesses, and the opening of the state’s first licensed dispensaries.
In February, a bill to legalize recreational, aka adult-use marijuana was considered in the legislature, and advocates were cautiously optimistic.
By February, the state had seen 47 bills dealing with marijuana introduced. Many failed, but some became law.
Discussion surrounding the adult-use marijuana bill continued into March when South Dakota’s gubernatorial candidates weighed in with their views on the legislation.
Despite the optimism felt by some supporting the adult-use measure, it failed to pass, dying on the House floor.
A bit later in March, the bill to ban home cultivation of medical cannabis was sent to a conference committee, where members attempted to reconcile two separate versions of the proposal.
As this was taking place, another marijuana-centered bill, this one seeking to add more regulation to where cannabis can be used, failed to make it out of the Senate, dying with 20 votes opposing it.
The next day, the Senate took the opposite action, approving two marijuana-focused bills, one to allow certain facilities to prohibit the use of marijuana on their premises, and another to expand the definition of ‘practitioner’ as it relates to the ability to recommend medical marijuana. Both bills went on to become law.
With a full ban on home cultivation seemingly dead in the water, a measure to limit the number of plants was passed by the legislature and sent to the governor.
By March 29, 2022, just 90 South Dakota doctors had been approved to recommend medical marijuana to patients by the state. These 90 represented just over 4% of the physicians in the state.
In April we began to get an understanding of the role that medical marijuana card companies were playing in South Dakota as an event held in Sioux Falls drew hundreds of patients.
While the first state-licensed dispensary was still months from opening, it is easy to forget that Native Nations Cannabis, a dispensary owned and operated by the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, had been open since July 2021. In May 2022, they announced plans to double their production.
Later on, in May we heard from a company in Rapid City that was angling to be the first state-licensed dispensary to open. While they missed the mark on that goal, Kittrick Jeffries, the owner of Puffy’s Dispensary outlined the work he was doing to open his store in Rapid City.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — In the 2022 midterm election, IM-27, a measure to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana failed with 52.9% of South Dakota voters in opposition.
This leaves South Dakota as it is today, with a burgeoning medical marijuana industry, and a number of businesses that were poised to move into the recreational market if it had been approved by voters.
Kittrick Jeffries, founder and CEO of Puffy’s dispensary, and a board member of the Cannabis Industry Association of South Dakota (CIASD) spoke with KELOLAND News on Friday about his business, the industry, and his own outlook on the failure of recreational marijuana in South Dakota.
On a personal note, Jeffries was disappointed in the failure of IM-27. “In just the immediate aftermath of the vote it was heartbreaking for a lot of our patients that couldn’t get access.”
Today, Nov. 11, 2022, is Veterans Day, a fact not missed by Jeffries.
“We have a lot of people that have reached out to us that have gone to see their VA doctor, who will not issue them a medical cannabis card because the VA is federally funded,” Jeffries said. “Having to talk to our veterans who can’t get medical access to cannabis in the last couple of days has really been weighing a heavy toll on me personally.”
Asked how the failure of IM-27 would impact his own business, Jeffries says the position hasn’t changed. “We’re a patient-owned and oriented business. I named the store after my mom, who is patient-zero in my heart, and the reason I got into the medical cannabis industry,” he said.
However, Jeffries did concede that the failure of IM-27 has catalyzed a change in his business plan — or at least the route his business will take.
“Basically, there are fewer medical patients than there are adult-use customers in the state of South Dakota,” Jeffries said. “With the failure of IM-27, we’re gonna be focused on more of an intimate approach with our dispensaries.”
This more intimate approach, says Jeffries, will manifest in a smaller-scale operation with fewer registers and less expansion of existing facilities, due to the smaller number of customers.
In terms of the size of that customer base, Jeffries cited a national average of about 2.17%-4% of the population of a state. That’s a range of 20,000-45,000 potential patients in South Dakota.
Comparatively, Jeffries says the South Dakota Dept. of Health reports that around 88,000 people (roughly 10%) in South Dakota currently use marijuana. Nationally, he says that percentage is around 18%.
One aspect of the rejected industry Jeffries laments is the loss of the tourist market. His flagship Puffy’s dispensary is in Rapid City, on the edge of the Black Hills and a major tourist market in South Dakota. “Just in our first months of being open here at Puffy’s, we’ve had to turn down 400 out-of-state medical cards, because they have to go through a very bureaucratic process before they come shop with us,” he said.
South Dakota does technically practice reciprocity with other medical marijuana states, however, the process for out-of-state patients can be difficult.
Jeffries explained that the state department is responsible for deciding if a patient with a card from another state has a South Dakota qualifying condition, which means that the patient must register with SDDOH, have their own doctor write them a recommendation for South Dakota’s program and then submit that to the department, who would then mail them a South Dakota medical card.
This process, said Jeffries, can take up to 60 days, making it especially difficult for patients who haven’t had time to plan two months ahead.
“I can’t stand at the front door of my dispensary anymore and turn down a patient from out-of-state,” Jeffries said. “It is so heartbreaking to see somebody who cannot take marijuana across state lines show up at our doorsteps in a wheelchair and crying their eyes out because they need medicine — it’s an unbelievable thing that we need to address immediately.”
Along with a smaller user base for cannabis products due to a market limited to medical sales, South Dakota’s cannabis industry, and the state government itself, will also see lower revenue than if adult use had passed.
“Take the great state of Montana,” Jeffries said. “Montana just passed adult-use cannabis in 2020. They’ve already implemented their program, and in the first fiscal year, raised $34 million in tax revenue, and that’s tax revenue that’s lost out in South Dakota.”
Another thing Jeffries cautions that South Dakota may lose out on is regulatory control.
“It’s only a matter of time before the federal government decides to regulate [marijuana], and we as a state of South Dakota have to figure out, are we going to allow the federal government to regulate cannabis after the fact or do we come in and implement a program, and regulate it ourselves to establish a status quo,” he asked.
And federal change may indeed be coming. On Oct. 6, President Biden directed the federal secretary of health and human services and the U.S. attorney general to begin the process of considering the rescheduling of marijuana under federal law.
Federal law currently classifies marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act — along with such drugs as heroin, and higher than the classification of fentanyl and methamphetamine.
Not all is doom and gloom in the eyes of those in favor of recreational cannabis, however, at least as far as Jeffries is concerned.
“I was raised in a household that always talked about ‘look at the bright side,’” said Jeffries. “I think there is a silver lining in IM-27 not passing in that the super-majority of cannabis establishments in South Dakota are locally owned. This will allow South Dakotans to establish their footprint before adult use passes, either nationally or in 2024 [in South Dakota].”
Another thing favoring local businesses in South Dakota is the caps that some local governments have put on cannabis establishments in their jurisdictions. “That would prevent large out-of-state cannabis companies from seeing an appetizing market — and allows South Dakotans that unique incubation period,” said Jeffries.
This delay however could be a double-edged sword however, with Jeffries warning that it could result in South Dakota being left behind.
As of November 9, 2022, 21 U.S. states (as well as Guam and Washington D.C.) have legalized recreational marijuana. Due to marijuana’s federally illegal status, those states all represent closed economic ecosystems for marijuana, as it is a federal crime to take marijuana across state lines.
If the federal government were to legalize marijuana, however, regulated interstate commerce for the substance would be possible, and those states with full-fledged recreational markets of their own would be primed to immediately take advantage of the brand-new market.
“Had South Dakota been able to jump in front of the program — we could be an export state of adult-use cannabis instead of being an import state,” said Jeffries. “California, Oklahoma, Colorado, Oregon — states that have had programs in place — they will be export states, and they’ll be exporting to states like South Dakota.”
While there are plans to get recreational marijuana back on the South Dakota ballot in 2024, with the federal government taking a serious look at rescheduling, it may already be too late.
I’m the CEO and co-founder of Puffy’s dispensary we’ve got some fun updates and some serious updates for you first off the fun updates currently right now.
Puffy’s has over 20 strains on the shelf for medical marijuana patients we also have a wide variety of other products including gummies, Vape cartridges, tinctures pre-pack American-made chillums, and pre-rolled Joints. Stop on in at any time at 2120 West Main Street Unit 5 in Rapid City to pick up any of those products make sure you have your medical marijuana card state issued South Dakota and your driver’s license and we can help take care of you. Currently right now we’re building out our Sturgis location amongst others in Rapid City in the surrounding areas and they should be ready to go by the beginning of the year so stay tuned follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates and we’ll be sure to get you some more.
Now for the serious part. We have a serious dogfight on our hands with initiated measure 27. We need your support in voting yes on adult use cannabis we’ve already passed cannabis in South Dakota with Amendment with 54 percent of the majority vote in 2020. As some of you may know it was struck down in the Supreme Court of South Dakota for being unconstitutional for violating single subject rule. It was a flawed decision in my opinion because cannabis is cannabis whether it’s adult use medical or hemp it all comes from the same plant it’s an arbitrary number of THC that separates the difference we are having a huge campaign going on right now in South Dakota you have made seen in some of your local jurisdictions the vote Yes on 27 signs and we need your support whatever you can do whether it’s going down to The Ballot Box early bringing friends and family to go vote putting signs up spreading Awareness on Facebook amongst other social media we need your help in passing I am 27.
Currently right now it is extremely hard for our veterans who have served this country to get a medical marijuana card. The VA is a federally funded program and cannot issue a recommendation for our veterans I am 27 is the fastest path to getting our veterans the help they need our opponents have stated that South Dakota is going to turn into Colorado I can assure you it’s definitely not Colorado implemented and was the first to implement policy regarding adult use cannabis but they had a wide Myriad of other policies that affected how Colorado operates as a community the same way as South Dakota implements policies on how South Dakota operates as a community now in South Dakota regarding cannabis specifically we’ve looked to other states to see how to do things correctly versus how not to do things and we’ve learned those mistakes and we’ve implemented them here in the Cannabis program one of those big takeaways is having dispensaries on every street corner that doesn’t happen in South Dakota there’s a limited number of dispensaries based on which jurisdiction you live in most jurisdictions in South Dakota have capped the number of retail establishments in their local communities which means more regulatory control over who distributes adult use marijuana when that comes time in 19 out of 19 States every single state that has legalized adult use cannabis has grandfathered in their existing medical programs that’s because medical cannabis has to abide by CFR ratings for their child proof packaging in the same way pharmaceutical companies have to do that and that’s very very key the black market does not ID when they go to sell anyone cannabis and license retail establishments we have to check and verify that you’re a valid resident of South Dakota or any state and make sure that you’re over the age of 21. we put those products in child proof packaging and on top of that an opaque containers with labels that clearly indicate what’s in the material because it’s been tested by a verified Testing Lab using ISO certification which is a National Standard in testing the black market doesn’t do that one of the big takeaways I think from this is that proponents and opponents alike have a common goal in protecting South Dakota kids except we want to do it completely differently voting yes on I am 27 puts regulated adult use cannabis in a market that’s contained regulated monitored under security camera lock and key whereas opponents want to continue the status quo of having the black market be the ones that control it where they don’t ID your children I think it’s very very important that even though I am a pro-ponent of I am 27 we want to still protect South Dakota kids in a different way because the war on drugs and this the current status quo has not worked it’s very clear so I would urge you vote Yes on I am 27 change the status quo take what is in the black market and put it into a regulated market so we can help those
who need it thank you.
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 8:00 PM MDT|Updated: 13 hours ago
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) -The debate over the recreational marijuana issue continues. However, according to a federally funded survey, youth marijuana use decreased significantly in 2021, as well as teen consumption of illicit substances overall.
“Colorado’s 171 million dollars was appropriated strictly to education; that’s educating our youth on the effects of marijuana and what that looks like, and that’s resources well-spent. Other tax revenues went to drug addiction, law enforcement, roads and infrastructure amongst building brand new schools and a wide variety of things that can help benefit the South Dakota community,” says proponent Kittrick Jeffries, CEO for Puffy’s Dispensary
Jim Kinyon, chairman for Protecting South Dakota Kids, counters by saying some Colorado resident, have moved to South Dakota because of the negative impact cannabis has had on Colorado.
“We don’t lock up people for marijuana. We try and get them healthy,” said Kinyon, “In the state of South Dakota, if this gets legalized, we’re leaving South Dakota because our kids and our families won’t be safe.”
Meade County Sheriff-elect Pat West says you would be allowed to grow up to three or six marijuana plants in a household but no more than an ounce of product.
“So if they’re allowed to have six marijuana plants in a house, that means you can grow up to 60 pounds of marijuana every three months; that’s an excessive amount of marijuana,” said West.
In 2018, In South Dakota, one out of every 10 arrests were for marijuana offenses. Law enforcement and the court systems were getting “clogged” with marijuana offenses, taking away resources to investigate violent crime
“And so by the passage of IM 27, I believe that we can appropriate those law enforcement officers’ time, effort, and energy going after more hard drugs, more violent crime, and that will benefit the community as a whole and throughout the entire state,” Jeffries claimed.
In a recent SDSU poll, 45 percent of voters are in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana but 47 percent are opposed; with 8 percent undecided.
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