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Puffy's Dispensary

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.

(WLOX)

By Kayla Henderson

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.

IM 27 sign
IM 27 sign(KOTA/KEVN)

“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.

No IM 27
No IM 27(KOTA/KEVN)

“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.

Copyright 2022 KOTA. All rights reserved.

Original Article

DENVER, Sept. 20, 2022 – PRESS RELEASE – Flowhub, the leading cannabis software company for dispensaries, announced the launch of Maui (Flowhub Maui), a revolutionary new product offering underpinned by over eight years of national industry expertise. Maui is an intuitive, flexible, and performant solution focused on helping cannabis retailers increase profits, operate more efficiently, and create superior customer experiences. Based on benchmark data from live customers, the platform’s brand new backend architecture is more than 20 times faster than Flowhub’s legacy application, allowing dispensaries to accelerate growth and increase transaction volume.

“Many assume the plant sells itself, but it’s not so simple for legal cannabis retailers. The industry remains a highly regulated environment with an influx of challenges and increasing competition. So far technology providers have struggled to keep up with today’s dispensary needs and consumer expectations,” said Kyle Sherman, founder and CEO of Flowhub. “With Maui, Flowhub gives full control back to dispensaries. We’ve taken diligent customer feedback to deliver a cutting-edge, mobile-first operating system primed for this multibillion-dollar industry. We’re here to power the upcoming explosion of innovative retail experiences that sustain healthy cannabis businesses and keep customers returning for more.”

Maui was created with the core belief that cannabis point-of-sale (POS) systems should be dynamic enough to accommodate any kind of customer experience a retailer wants to offer while remaining compliant at all times. Unlike other POS companies in the space, Flowhub Maui is an open, highly configurable system that allows businesses to easily integrate a custom tech stack on their choice of hardware, whether that’s iPads, Macs, or PCs. Dispensaries can set up their stores to match a growing diversity of retail environments and feel confident in the ownership, security, and accuracy of their data. This flexibility is essential for dispensaries to build competitive brands and execute frictionless operations.

Notable benefits of Maui include:

Maui will be available in all active Flowhub markets, including the company’s recently entered markets, New Jersey, West Virginia and South Dakota.

“Flowhub Maui is by far the best cannabis retail platform available,” said Jaclyn Enlow, head of operations for Chesapeake Apothecary in Maryland. “We were up and running so quickly. The team at Flowhub is fantastic, but they haven’t had to support us too much because the product is intuitive and does what we need it to do. It worked with my existing hardware, so it was dead simple to go live. It took days instead of weeks to train and implement even when moving from another platform.”

“Flowhub has been supporting cannabis retailers since the beginning and with Maui it shows. They have used their experience to make the application intuitive and easy to use, and we were blown away by how quickly Flowhub was able to have us ready for compliant cannabis retail in South Dakota,” said Kittrick Jeffries, CEO/co-owner of Puffy’s Dispensary. “We opened our first of 11 dispensaries, and Maui makes it that much easier. Maui eliminates redundancy and streamlines the process to get cannabis to our customers/patients as fast as we can.”

Maui arrives on the heels of Flowhub’s $19 million strategic fundraise in 2021, led by venture firms Headline and Poseidon, and a personal investment from world-renowned rapper, entrepreneur and entertainment mogul Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter. To date, the company has raised nearly $50 million in capital, bringing the company’s valuation to over $200 million.

Flowhub has continued its commitment to building a sustainable, inclusive future through legalization advocacy efforts, partner relationships, and social responsibility. Since launching in June 2021, Flowhub’s Social Equity Program has granted over $4 million in software awards to support underrepresented dispensary entrepreneurs from a diversity of backgrounds, particularly those who have previously been involved in a marijuana conviction. Flowhub also has an open API framework connecting to over 50 integration partners spanning ecommerce, ERP, data analytics, CRM and more across its app ecosystem.

With the launch of Maui and new leadership hires, including Chief Operating Officer Leandre Johns, Vice President of Customer Operations Sheila Lavender, Vice President of Product Matt Tharp, and Vice President of Engineering Kris Cicarelli, the company is well poised to accelerate expansion into emerging markets, further develop its dynamic product line and grow its social equity program, to enable a future where cannabis is accessible to every adult on planet Earth.

Original Article

Medical marijuana ID cardholders in the Black Hills now have a place to buy cannabis.

Puffy’s Dispensary on Thursday will open the first of 11 planned locations in the Rapid City and surrounding areas. The 2120 W. Main St. location marks the first licensed pot dispensary to begin operations west of the Missouri River.

A year since medical cannabis became legal in South Dakota, bureaucratic red tape and supply chain shortages continue to delay the opening of dozens of dispensaries and grow facilities across the state.

But one eastern South Dakota Native American tribe has managed to standup a seed-to-sale cannabis operation that’s already bringing tens of millions to the Moody County reservation.

The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe (FSST) in 2015 legalized marijuana with a vision of becoming a leader in the nation’s budding cannabis industry. And after a few hiccups and snags along the way, a vote among all South Dakotans to legalize medical cannabis in their state emboldened the tribe to become the leading — and still the only — marijuana distributor in the Mount Rushmore State.

“It’s well over $10 million by now with the buildings and everything we’ve bought,” FSST tribal spokesman Seth Pearman said of how much the tribe has invested in developing it’s own Native Nation Cannabis, LLC.

More: Amendment C is unrelated to marijuana. Here’s why legal cannabis proponents are attacking it.

The tribe’s cannabis operations consists of a dispensary, multiple mass-grow facilities, a product manufacturing plant, a chemistry lab and a full-scale bakery all housed on the edge of reservation land about 45 miles north of Sioux Falls.

1 year ago:Flandreau tribe’s cannabis outfit has 10,000 plants, expected to generate $1M a month

And since the very first cannabis sales on July 1, 2021, the growers, testers, trimmers, joint rollers and cashiers who all work for Native Nations Cannabis haven’t seen any slow down.

Native Nations Cannabis COO Jonathan Hunt told the Argus Leader during a tour of the tribe’s cannabis campus this week the company has found it difficult to keep up with the demand of the more than 11,000 medical marijuana patients in the tribe’s medical program.

A grow facility with a constant cycle of 10,000 cannabis plants, which get used for everything from traditional flower buds to oils and edibles, hasn’t been enough to keep up with the 350 to 500 customers who walk through their doors each day, he said, adding the 100,000-plus transactions they’ve had average between $130 and $180 each.

That’s forced the company to put purchase limits in place. For instance, each customer is entitled to purchase up to only 1/8th of an ounce of flowered marijuana each day. 

And even with two more grow facilities currently under construction and scheduled to come online in the coming months, demand is still expected to exceed supply, said David Kills-A-Hundred, a Flandreau Santee Sioux tribe member and marketing director for the cannabis company. 

A year since medical cannabis became legal in South Dakota, bureaucratic red tape and supply chain shortages continue to delay the opening of dozens of dispensaries and grow facilities across the state.

But one eastern South Dakota Native American tribe has managed to standup a seed-to-sale cannabis operation that’s already bringing tens of millions to the Moody County reservation.

The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe (FSST) in 2015 legalized marijuana with a vision of becoming a leader in the nation’s budding cannabis industry. And after a few hiccups and snags along the way, a vote among all South Dakotans to legalize medical cannabis in their state emboldened the tribe to become the leading — and still the only — marijuana distributor in the Mount Rushmore State.

“It’s well over $10 million by now with the buildings and everything we’ve bought,” FSST tribal spokesman Seth Pearman said of how much the tribe has invested in developing it’s own Native Nation Cannabis, LLC.

More:Amendment C is unrelated to marijuana. Here’s why legal cannabis proponents are attacking it.

A series of cannabis plants, of the Durban Poison strain, grow at Native Nations Cannabis on Monday, June 27, 2022, in Flandreau. This particular strain is called a landrace strain, meaning it hasn't been modified from how the plant was originally found in its native habitat.

The tribe’s cannabis operations consists of a dispensary, multiple mass-grow facilities, a product manufacturing plant, a chemistry lab and a full-scale bakery all housed on the edge of reservation land about 45 miles north of Sioux Falls.

1 year ago:Flandreau tribe’s cannabis outfit has 10,000 plants, expected to generate $1M a month

And since the very first cannabis sales on July 1, 2021, the growers, testers, trimmers, joint rollers and cashiers who all work for Native Nations Cannabis haven’t seen any slow down.

Native Nations Cannabis COO Jonathan Hunt told the Argus Leader during a tour of the tribe’s cannabis campus this week the company has found it difficult to keep up with the demand of the more than 11,000 medical marijuana patients in the tribe’s medical program.

A grow facility with a constant cycle of 10,000 cannabis plants, which get used for everything from traditional flower buds to oils and edibles, hasn’t been enough to keep up with the 350 to 500 customers who walk through their doors each day, he said, adding the 100,000-plus transactions they’ve had average between $130 and $180 each.

That’s forced the company to put purchase limits in place. For instance, each customer is entitled to purchase up to only 1/8th of an ounce of flowered marijuana each day. 

Everett Keble, U.S. Army veteran, selects cannabis products to purchase at the Native Nations Cannabis dispensary on Monday, June 27, 2022, in Flandreau.

And even with two more grow facilities currently under construction and scheduled to come online in the coming months, demand is still expected to exceed supply, said David Kills-A-Hundred, a Flandreau Santee Sioux tribe member and marketing director for the cannabis company. 

“We’ll re-evaluate, but I’m of the opinion that it will never be enough,” he said.

More:South Dakota marijuana legalization heads back to ballot in November 2022 election

What’s not guaranteed?

That’s partly because Native Nations Cannabis, operating independently of the state of South Dakota’s medical program, is still the only company in the entire state engaging in personal-use marijuana sales.

While some cultivation facilities licensed by the Department of Health are coming online and beginning to grow crops, a more burdensome regulatory climate for non-tribal cannabis operations has slowed their entry into the marijuana market.

The future home of a 605 Cannabis dispensary stands on Wednesday, June 29, 2022, in Worthing, SD.

And while the law took effect July 1, 2021, rules and regulations that came with it have more than 100 marijuana businesses licensed by the Department of Health still working toward harvesting, processing and, eventually, selling cannabis products.

“We’re trying to open as early as August, but that’s not a guarantee,” said Kittrick Jeffries, owner of a Rapid City-based cannabis firm called Puffy’s licensed to operate 10 dispensaries across the Black Hills. 

Driving the delays are both bureaucratic red tape at the local and state level as well as supply chain shortages that have disrupted the world economy since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. 

Jeffries and other cannabis-related licenses holders across the state point to the statutory and regulatory timelines passed both within 2020’s Initiated Measure 26 and rules created by the DOH and approved by state legislators. 

More:Marijuana jurisdiction rules, diagonal parking Council leadership discussed during meeting

What is the red tape for the rest of the state?

To begin with, the Department of Health had until November 2021 to begin accepting applications for licenses from aspiring cannabis cultivators, operators and growers, and then 90 days to either certify or reject an application.

And with a requirement that all products sold in South Dakota dispensaries be supplied with cannabis grown here by a state-licensed cultivator, and a 130-day cycle from seed to sales, Jeffries said the most optimistic timelines always had the first dispensaries opening no sooner than summer 2022.

Brandon Trauger, extraction manager, checks on the VTA distillation plant in the chemical lab at Native Nations Cannabis on Monday, June 27, 2022, in Flandreau. The distiller extracts THC.

Cultivators and manufacturers, who will supply products to dispensaries, are also finding many of the mechanical components needed to operate are backlogged, with projected delivery of items like electrical energy transformers and heating and cooling units as far out as 10 months. 

“It’s even things like receipt printers that are tough right now,” Jeffries said.

But with nearly 1,200 state cards issued, and 25 DOH-certified cultivation facilities working to begin supplying South Dakota’s 70 licensed dispensaries, it’s only a matter of time.

More:South Dakota could see its first hemp processing plant by fall 2022

“I’d say give it until April next year,” he said. “Once everybody comes online, there will be a steady flow.”

The Department of Health did not accommodate an interview request for this article.

More: South Dakota marijuana legalization heads back to ballot in November 2022 election

What’s not guaranteed?

That’s partly because Native Nations Cannabis, operating independently of the state of South Dakota’s medical program, is still the only company in the entire state engaging in personal-use marijuana sales.

While some cultivation facilities licensed by the Department of Health are coming online and beginning to grow crops, a more burdensome regulatory climate for non-tribal cannabis operations has slowed their entry into the marijuana market.

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Kittrick Jeffries got into the cannabis industry around 7-years ago after his mom was diagnosed with cancer. Now, he’s in the process of bringing his first dispensary to Rapid City.

“I was born and raised here in Rapid City. I graduated from Stevens and went to Black Hills State University,” Jeffries told KELOLAND News. “My mom was diagnosed with cancer, and that’s really what sparked my interest in the cannabis industry in general.”

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) – At the Black Hills Forum and Press Club today, a marijuana legalization advocate and dispensary owner made the case for how the Black Hills community can adapt to changes in cannabis policy.

He says there has been a shift politically in South Dakota over recent years, making these new policies possible.

Since voters passed Amendment A and Initiated Measure 26 in November of 2020, lawmakers and citizens alike have had questions about the implications of legal cannabis.

Kittrick Jeffries, owner of Dakota Cannabis Consulting and Puffy’s Dispensary, was there with answers.

BELLE FOURCHE — The Butte County Commission signed off on two more certificates of compliance for a pair of medical cannabis establishments: one for a cultivation license and one for a manufacturing license.

During the March 15 meeting of the county commission, 1889 Farms LLC and The High Hills LLC applied for cultivation and manufacturing licenses, respectively.

Representing the businesses, Kittrick Jeffries, a former marijuana industry compliance officer and founder of Dakota Cannabis Consulting, a Rapid City-based cannabis consulting firm, addressed the commission about the two applications.

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) – We know now the names and locations of the 15 future medical marijuana dispensaries in Rapid City.

The South Dakota Medical Cannabis Program in Pierre conducted a lottery drawing Wednesday to determine which of the 47 applicants will receive the 15 licenses that the Rapid City Council gave the green light for last year.

The successful applicants now have a year to establish their dispensaries.

South Dakota has issued its first three medical cannabis dispensary licenses to retailers in Wagner, Watertown and Keystone, according to a South Dakota Public Broadcasting report.

The licenses went to Custom Touch in Wagner, Dakota Dispensaries in Watertown and Puffy’s in Keystone, according to the state’s website.

South Dakota must still license medical cannabis cultivators, manufacturers and testing facilities, and the Department of Health is continuing to process applications, South Dakota Public Broadcasting reported.

The state’s voters approved medical and adult-use cannabis legalization measures in the November 2020 election, although the South Dakota Supreme Court has since overturned the adult-use initiative, ruling that it violated the state’s single-subject rule.

South Dakota lawmakers are currently considering several proposed bills on medical and adult-use cannabis during the 2022 legislative session, which kicked off Jan. 11.