Judge denies Dakota Natural Solutions Grow's motion for summary judgment

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HURON — South Dakota Third Circuit Court Judge Kent Shelton on Tuesday denied a petition for summary judgment filed by Dakota Natural Solutions Grow (DNS Grow), LLC against Beadle County.

“Truthfully, it is a fairly complicated issue,” Judge Shelton told both parties. “It is not very simple to just decide what the legislature intended to do in this manner.”

“It is my opinion that the county’s position is the correct position in this matter,” Shelton continued. “I am going to deny the motion for summary judgment in this matter.”

The dispute began after DNS Grow was sent a cease-and-desist operations letter from Beadle County after opening a medical marijuana grow facility within the City of Wessington.

It was Beadle County’s position that the facility was required to file through the county to receive one of the two grow facility licenses available within the county, which would include paying an application fee to the county.

DNS Grow, however, believes the facility was licensed through an ordinance put in place by the city of Wessington, and thus was not required complete licensure through the county to begin operations.

Attorney Aaron Pilcher, appearing on behalf of DNS Grow, laid out the argument at hand. He stated that DNS Grow had completed licensing as a medicinal marijuana grow facility through the City of Wessington’s municipal ordinance.

Per Pilcher, the way that the medicinal marijuana licensing codes are written gives authority to municipalities in issuing licenses in their jurisdiction.

Beadle County State’s Attorney Michael Moore responded that the county was not challenging the legality of the municipal licensure, instead was challenging the scope under the current law. Moore stated that the law does put a distinction between county and municipal jurisdiction in the wording of the law.

“The law...affords us as the county the ability to regulate time, place, and manner of a grow facility,” Moore stated. “To clarify, municipalities can choose to do all three, but Wessington chose to participate in Beadle County’s plan in 2017.”

Moore further explained that even while participating in the county zoning plan, Wessington retained the right to state where in the city a facility could be operated. Regulating the days of operation and time that a marijuana-based business could be open was in the hands of the county as well as the number and types of medical marijuana facilities allowed within the county, whether that be a dispensary or grow facility.

Shelton did state that if the City of Wessington or the state file a motion on the matter, he would consider such a motion to potentially amend his judgment.