Alcohol farm

Council defers off-sale liquor license for cannabis company

Council members questioned the legal gray area for retail license approvals for Rapid City Cannabis during the Monday evening council meeting.

The licenses would be for a retail malt beverage (to-go) and SD farm wine license and a retail wine and cider (to-go) license at 3075 N. Plaza Drive, Suite B. The board has voted 8-2 to defer the item to the October 3 meeting. Council members Bill Evans and Lance Lehmann voted against the postponement.

Council Member Pat Jones removed the item from the Consent Public Hearing Items. He said he was against it last week and encouraged his fellow council members to vote against it on Monday. Jones said they were told medical cannabis dispensaries would only dispense to people with medical cards and that alcohol never came into play.

“The idea of ​​going to the medical marijuana store for happy hour, ‘buy two joints and get your first drink free,’ and that concerns me,” he said, holding up paper signs with a sign. greener and a picture of two pints. of beer. “These two things don’t go together. They don’t go together and they shouldn’t go together, and we have to be concerned about where we want Rapid City to go with this.

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Jones said this was the first application for a dispensary license and the decision made by the board would set the tone for the future.

“I believe we have a responsibility to hold this to what we said and were told it would be – not a bar, not a place to go for a beer or a glass of wine, which I disagree with. nothing, I totally love myself,” Jones said. “But not at a dispensary where we were told he was going to dispense medical marijuana and that’s the only reason he was going to be there.”

Jones said it was offensive to him that the company wanted to add beer and wine licensing.

Council member John Roberts said he wanted to caution his fellow council members against voting in the direction Jones was seeking.

“Every time we go down this path and get sued, we lose,” he said.

Roberts said that just because the state doesn’t ban it, that doesn’t mean the state allows it. He said it seems like every time the city tries to challenge him, they lose.

“You may have the absolute best moral right to do so, but it doesn’t place you above state law,” he said. “Unfortunately our hands are tied on this stage, we can only do what the law allows us to do.”

Council member Bill Evans said he agreed with Roberts and said they were two separate issues.

“If we want to change the ordinances and the laws, we have to change that, but at the moment the granting of these particular licenses is in accordance with these,” he said. “We have an obligation to do this. If we don’t like that, we have to change the law for the future.

Community Development Director Vicki Fisher said the city’s ordinance states that if a dispensary is 1,000 feet from a school or 500 feet from a church, playground, a day care center or a public park, it would be allowed. She said this site is in the permitted category and was not presented to the board as a conditional use permit.

Fisher said his department contacted the city attorney’s office and that while reviewing state legislation, some states are creating cannabis laws so that alcohol cannot be sold outside of dispensaries.

“South Dakota hasn’t structured its medical cannabis laws this way,” she said. “We operate outside of that state law.”

Fisher said the city had other pharmacies in town that sold alcohol. She said it can be retailed but not consumed locally.

City Attorney Joel Landeen said there was likely a gray area.

“State law doesn’t prohibit it, so you can’t rely on state law,” he said.

Landeen said the council must consider the character and suitability of the applicant and the suitability of the location for a liquor license.

“You might say you don’t believe a dispensary is a suitable place, however, it’s in line with our zoning,” he said.

During the meeting, the board approved the second second reading of the 2023 budget, which includes an additional $80,000 for a sustainability coordinator with a sales tax allowance, with a 6-4 vote. Council members Jason Salamun, Jesse Ham, Lehmann and Roberts voted against the budget.

— Contact Siandhara Bonnet at [email protected]

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