VERMILLION, SD (KCAU) — Senate Bill 3 very narrowly passed 18-17 on Wednesday, and although the House and Governor still need to stamp their approval, the vote has brought hope to Vermillion’s Dakota Natural Growers.
Sixteen months ago, Josh Wood and a team of industry experts set out on a mission: to bring a safe and regulated marijuana business to Vermillion. Today, they are close to turning their dream into reality.
The Dakota Natural Growers have already secured a medical cannabis cultivation license from the city, and once they’re approved by the state, will be ready to grow and bring their product to market.
Outside of the benefits medical marijuana would bring to their home state as well as the economic impact from tax revenue, Wood says he wants to create a facility where everyone can have access to the product.
“We are doing our part to educate people on the effects. We want safe and effective usage of cannabis and we’re willing to invest in those things as much as we’re willing to invest in actually growing quality products,” said Wood, chief operating officer of DNG.
If lawmakers approve the bill, Dakota Natural Growers will be one of the first cultivation sites on state land, and due to federal laws, all cannabis sold in state must be grown in state.
Wood — a 5th generation South Dakotan — says now is the time for the state to get involved in an ever-growing agricultural industry.
“South Dakota should in no way ever be an importer of an agribusiness product, not when we have the opportunity to start, work hard with South Dakota ingenuity, and take a leadership role,” said Wood.
Governor Noem wouldn’t say whether she’d veto the adult-use bill if it were to reach her desk, saying she believes the people “aren’t in favor” of recreational marijuana even though 54% voted for it in November 2020.
“It’s hard to talk in hypotheticals. I’m not in favor of recreational marijuana. I still believe, I haven’t seen somebody get smarter from smoking dope,” said Noem.
Wood says he’s heard from legislators who say a House committee could have a hearing over their version of Senate Bill 3 sometime next week.