Rapid City Common Council makes decision on controversial license request

RAPID CITY, S.D.– After a controversial request for a liquor license from Rapid City Cannabis came to city hall during the October 3 meeting, council members moved to deny the dispensary almost completely during their meeting on October 17.

“The dispensary obviously will continue, that had already been approved,” City Coordinator Darrell Shoemaker said. “But the action to allow a beer license– after the discussion, the vote was taken and the vote was 6 to 2 to deny that motion to add the beer license.”

Shoemaker further explained the council approved the medical cannabis dispensary on the basis of not combining it with alcohol sales.

Council members Lance Lehman and Laura Armstrong were the only two voting against the motion to deny. Armstrong referring to a memo citing no grounds for denying the request, which included clearance from RCPD and a passed background check. The memo also included previous notation mentioning a request for a liquor license, with alcohol only being sold to customers purchasing medical marijuana and not to members of the public.

However even with proper documents filled out, the council voted against the request on the grounds of “inappropriate location.” Ward 2 Alderman Ritchie Nordstrom was one of the six that voted to deny the request, citing limited information on the location as a key reason.

“And with the, shall I say, distance between the point of sales and then where the alcohol was going to be stored, that’s what made my decision,” Nordstrom explained. “It was just inappropriate for that location. The original motion was a little bit vague, and so I wanted a little bit more specificity on it in case it goes to litigation.”

Litigation is only one possible option that could happen following the decision, but for now Nordstrom and the other council members are re-evaluating application processes to avoid any more issues that might arise.

“In the meantime, we on the city council have got to do some more clarification on this, shall I say, making sure it’s a lot clearer for the applicants,” he added. “That way we don’t run into this confusion when one approaches our level of discussion.”

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