NEW: License renewal fees for Watertown’s medical marijuana dispensaries being reduced (Audio)

December 19, 2023
Mike Tanner

WATERTOWN, S.D.–The Watertown City Council has voted to reduce the annual license renewal fees for dispensaries that sell medical marijuana.

The move comes after a messy, and sometimes confusing hour long disucssion Monday night.

The motion on the table was to reduce the fee from the current $25,000 down to $5,000.

Mayor Ried Holien made a motion to keep the fee at the current $25,000, which didn’t sit well with Dakota Dispensaries co-owner Roger Meyer, who wanted to comment on it, but was told he couldn’t because the public comment period ended.

That led to this exchange between Meyer and the mayor…

Councilman Kyle Peters made the original motion at a council work session last week to reduce the fee to $5,000….

Meyer just renewed his license for 2024 this month, paying the $25,000 fee.

Meyer told the council it’s only fair that if the fee were going to be reduced to $5,000, that the city refund him the difference of $20,000.

Councilman Randy Tupper called that request, “disrespectful”….

Ultimately, the council approved the lower fee on a 5-2 vote. The “no” votes came from Mayor Holien and Councilman Dan Schutte.

The new fee takes effect January 1st.

Meanwhile new salaries were approved for city of Watertown employees Monday night. The contracts, and the salaries they come with, were negotiated with three separate unions that represent firefighters, police officers, and non-first responders.

Essentially, city employees are getting seven percent raises in 2024.

The council also spent two hours discussing a proposed Planned Unit Development along South Lake Driver. Developer Erik Scott wants to build 45 living units on an 8 acre site that many neighbors don’t want.

The Planning Commission recently voted 4-3 against the proposal.

The city council will have the final decision at their first meeting in January.