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First Rapid City medical marijuana dispensary opens

Puffy's CEO Kittrick Jeffries stands in front of his newly opened dispensary in Rapid City
Lee Strubinger
Puffy's CEO Kittrick Jeffries stands in front of his newly opened dispensary in Rapid City

Business is open for the state's first West River, state-licensed medical marijuana dispensary.

Candy Rich became the first customer to buy marijuana legally from Puffy’s Dispensary on west Main Street. Rich was the first person in western South Dakota to purchase marijuana from a dispensary licensed by the state.

In 2020, South Dakota voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of legalizing marijuana for medical use.

Rich has epilepsy and said marijuana helps with her seizures. She said the convenience is great.

“They don’t have as much product right now, so you’re kind of limited,” Rich said. “But it’s really wonderful and you can come every day and they’re all awesome.”

Dispensaries in South Dakota are required to carry products made in South Dakota.

There are currently 12 licensed cannabis manufacturers that can make non-smokable marijuana products. None of the companies are operational yet.

Dispensaries in Flandreau and the Pine Ridge reservation have been selling cannabis since earlier this year. The first state-licensed dispensary in East River, in Hartford, opened its doors at the end of July.

Kittrick Jeffries, CEO and co-founder of Puffy’s Dispensary, said he's been working for this day for the past eight years.

“It’s surreal. It’s absolutely wonderful," he said. “We took all of this time and experience knowing we were going to bring this home back to South Dakota to support South Dakota patients. I’m glad that Puffy’s is the first opportunity for them to be able to find a little bit of relief.”

Jeffries also lobbies for medical cannabis at the South Dakota statehouse. He said he’d like the state to address reciprocity issues that have already cropped up.

“We’ve had a couple patients from California and Colorado already show up to our stores today and, unfortunately, we’ve already had to turn them down because they did not have their physical in-state card," Jeffries added.

Jeffries said he looks forward to working with the state and Department of Health on streamlining that process.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.