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Five Sioux Falls businesses win lottery for marijuana dispensary licenses

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 6:05 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Wednesday was a milestone day for medical marijuana in Sioux Falls.

Five groups of business owners cleared another hurdle for opening some of the first medical cannabis operations in the state, and it happened in an unconventional way.

A room in city hall turned into a lottery TV show set, with some hopeful winners present. So how excited were some of Sioux Falls’ first cannabis show owners when they heard their number called?

“I exploded,” said East River Farms LLC co-founder Zach Winter. “I jumped up. I screamed. I couldn’t believe it, to be honest. I still can’t believe it. I’m high on excitement, to be honest.”

A fun pun, considering what Winter’s group of long-time buddies and relatives is about to get into. And while he’s happy to be providing a healing alternative to those who need it...

“To be honest, it was a great business opportunity,” Winter said. “And to provide great value to our city...

“It was definitely a roll of the dice. We were only one of the 79. So, our odds were very slim. I can’t believe we pulled this off. So, yeah, I (pauses and smiles)... Wow. Wow... Wow.”

Winter’s group is one of dozens that forked over the $25,000 for the application fee. Emmett Reistroffer’s crew at Genesis Farms LLC dropped $650,000 on 26 applications, including one of the winners. For the long-time Sioux Falls resident, it’s been 12 years of legal activism in the making.

“The entire nation and, really, the entire world, has been moving toward a regulated market for cannabis, where these products can be tested for quality,” said Reistroffer. “It’s transparent, we pay taxes... We want to be above board, legal, responsible, operators that give back to our communities.”

Resitroffer said he does not anticipate profiting from medical-only marijuana.

“We’re in this to serve people. It’s really a non-profit now until we get to a fully-regulated market.”

And his message to those who feel we’re heading down a slippery slope by legalizing and selling a previously illegal drug in Sioux Falls?

“There’s always hesitance and questions about the unknown, but I think our industry has done a good job of answering those questions,” Reistroffer said. You can see in states where it’s already legal. No one is going backward. This is only going forward.”

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