FLANDREAU, SD (KELO) – The medical marijuana trade in Flandreau continues to flourish. The Native Nations Cannabis Dispensary opened in July with its adjoining grow lab facilities, and in recent months has led the way in the field of medical marijuana in South Dakota.
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe (FSST) President Tony Reider said business was going well. “It was awesome,” he said. “Business was as expected. “
Reider says the biggest change that has happened in the past few months is the construction that is still going on. “We had a big investment, not really knowing what was going to happen on July 1, so we didn’t want to invest more than we already had,” he said. “Now [we’re] trying to catch up a little bit, so to speak.
This catch-up game is now one of the greatest challenges of the Indigenous Nations. “One of the biggest complaints I would say we receive is the possibility of purchasing only an eighth [of an ounce] flower, ”Reider said. “A lot of people would like to buy up to that full ounce at a time. The problem is, it depletes our supply very quickly.
However, a remedy for the supply issue is currently underway, with the tribe in the process of renovating / constructing two additional grow facilities which, when completed, will allow the dispensary to nearly triple its current production.
Reider says the new grow facilities are expected to be online by summer 2022 and will give the operation approximately 30,000 square feet of grow space. “It will also allow us to change some of our growing methods and distribute things as appropriate with the different varieties requiring different heat and so on. “, did he declare.
For Reider, the medical program isn’t just about business. “The real victory that we are seeing is the patients that it really helps,” he said. “We have people who have never tried cannabis before and they’ll come and – some of the older generations – they say they’re fed up with the pills and still in pain and stuff, and they’re income and really talked about the difference it made in their lives.
Reider says that in the future, the FSST would like to enter into an agreement with the state to allow them to supply products to future state-licensed dispensaries. “We would really like to push and try to find some kind of solution or an agreement with the state so that we can start providing medicine to people,” he said. “There is a strong need and after seeing firsthand how it helps people, I think it is very important to try to get medicine for these people as quickly as possible.”
FSST Attorney General Seth Pearman is actively pursuing such an arrangement with the state.
The tribe participated in the rule-making process with the South Dakota Inter-Marijuana Legislative Committees and the Rules Committee, and it was during this process that the Department of Health indicated that the tribe may not not be able to sell its products to state-approved facilities. in the state, unless we have to authorize our installations.
Seth Pearman, Attorney General of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe
Pearman highlighted the tribe’s resistance to the idea, explaining that the FSST’s view is that the state has no regulatory authority over operations on tribal lands. “I have drafted a bill that is very similar to the rule promulgation process that we recommended, and I hope we can get legislation that would clarify this when the South Dakota market is ready for the product. . “
Pearman also addressed the question of how the FSST got his marijuana in the first place. The founding of marijuana cultivation in a new state is legally murky due to the remaining federal ban on the transportation and possession of cannabis and its products.
“Our facility, like other facilities across the country, starts from imported seed,” said Pearman. “A lot of other states have policies in place that sort of allow for periods when people can bring in products, and I would expect that that is what South Dakota would do as well.”
Pearman points out that the federal government also makes allowances. “In Section 531 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, the Department of Justice is not authorized to enforce medical marijuana laws with respect to certain states, and South Dakota is included in that, so I don’t think the federal government would have a problem with that either.
He also speculated on why the process of starting the culture can be a bit vague from a state perspective. “I think lawmakers are reluctant to draft a law that says this is how you violate the interstate commerce type provisions of the Controlled Substances Act.”
Pearman says that in the future, the tribe hopes to expand its activities both on and off the reservation. “We’re going to develop a few facilities statewide,” he said. “We can appear in the backyard of someone who didn’t expect to have a Native Nations clinic, and from some of the conversations we’ve had with clients, they’re really open to it.”