Mayor TenHaken Releases Proposed Medical Cannabis Licensing Ordinance

Mayor Paul TenHaken issued the following statement regarding the City’s proposed medical cannabis licensing ordinance:

“Today I am releasing the proposed ordinance for the licensing of medical cannabis/marijuana establishments in the City of Sioux Falls. By passing Initiated Measure 26 (IM 26) in November of last year, the voters made many things clear including that they want access to medical cannabis, and they want it available in a safe and healthy manner. I was one of the voters who voted for this measure.

A fundamental principle within IM 26 is the importance of State and local government control. IM 26 was written in a way that prevents any local government from prohibiting a medical cannabis dispensary. This was the law’s method of ensuring access to medical cannabis in every community throughout the State. For example, in Minnehaha and Lincoln Counties alone, there are 19 local governments, which means that within the two county area there may be a minimum of 19 dispensaries where medical cannabis is sold, with the potential for many more. By comparison, the State of North Dakota, which also legalized medical cannabis, has eight dispensaries statewide. Consequently, and as a result of IM 26, the State of South Dakota will soon be experiencing a dramatic increase in both the access and presence of marijuana within our communities.

As Mayor, it is my duty to balance that access with the health and safety of our community. As a result, I am proposing to exercise the local government control provided by IM 26 by capping the presence of medical cannabis dispensaries in Sioux Falls to five. This ensures that, in addition to the host of medical cannabis dispensaries that may soon surround the city of Sioux Falls, there will also be access within the city, either by those who seek medical cannabis directly or by their caregivers.

This approach does two things. First, it honors the intent of the voters to provide access to medical cannabis within a municipality. Second, it provides us an opportunity to learn from and react to the impacts that medical cannabis will have on our community, knowing that we are able to consider expansion of the total number of medical cannabis dispensaries in the future.

I urge the City Council to approve this balanced proposal as we exercise our leadership responsibilities to protect the health, safety and liberty of every member of our community.”


The proposed medical cannabis licensing ordinance for the City of Sioux Falls can be found here. The first reading of the proposed licensing ordinance will go before the Sioux Falls City Council on Tuesday, Aug. 17, with the second reading scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 7.

Medical cannabis became legal in the state on July 1, but the South Dakota Department of Health (DOH) has until Oct. 29, 2021, to enact final administrative rules. Cities and counties in South Dakota have the authority to develop regulations to exercise local control of medical cannabis in the following areas: zoning (where businesses can be located and which uses are allowed), licensing (rules for businesses and establishment of licensing fees), and nuisance/health (for example, smoking and/or consumption laws, odors).

Share This