Personal experiences guide men in the medical cannabis business | South Dakota News

By SIANDHARA BONNET, Rapid City Journal

RAPID CITY, SD (AP) — Nevada Ellison wants to keep a promise he made to his mother who died of cancer in 2015.

Ellison worked in the cannabis industry in Colorado from 2008 to 2012 before returning to Rapid City. When his mother, Susie, was in what turned out to be the last three months of her life, she called and asked her son for cannabis edibles.

“She was always anti-cannabis,” Ellison said. “She’s never broken the law in her entire life and she called me. She was taking hundreds of milligrams of oxycodone every day. She’s like, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ … It broke his heart to break the law.

A week later, she called back and asked for more edibles, noting that she was now better able to take care of herself. Ellison cared for her mother for 16 months in Lemmon until her death. Before doing so, Susie made her son promise that he would get back into the marijuana business, the Rapid City Journal reported.

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“She made me promise that if I had a chance to get back into it, especially on the medical side, I would, and that’s why I’m getting back into it,” he said. declared.

Ellison is now COO of Black Hills Cannabis Care, which is Rapid City’s first cultivation business approved for a conditional use permit by the city’s Planning Commission.

Ellison runs the company with Jake Johnson, who is the company’s CEO.

Johnson got into the business because he has an uncle who was recently diagnosed with colon cancer and relies on medical marijuana to help manage his pain.

“He knows his time is running out,” Johnson said.

He said he had friends in the industry and had heard of the medicinal benefits of cannabis and believed in those benefits.

“Knowing that and (Ellison’s) history, we thought it was the right thing to do, to try and bring the best quality of medicine to the people of the city,” he said. .

The grow facility will have four to eight employees, but it will not be open to the public. It will be located at 1820 Rand Road on the northwest side of Rapid City off Deadwood Avenue. Ellison said the business will open as soon as the state grants a license.

“We are trying to get a crop up and running as quickly as possible to help meet our regional patient demand for medical cannabis and give them safe access to their medications,” he said. “Until we put in cultures, the dispensaries won’t have anything to sell, so we’re working hard to achieve that.”

Medical cannabis cultivation facilities in Rapid City require a conditional use permit to operate. To be eligible, applicants must show that their facility is at least 1,000 feet from any school and 500 feet from any church, daycare, public park, or residential area. Facilities should be located in heavy or light industrial areas. The city has not set a limit on the number of grow facilities within the city limits.

Johnson said he and Ellison have been preparing for the business since November 2020, when voters overwhelmingly approved of medical marijuana and have since spent nearly every day on the phone preparing everything to apply for their state licenses. and municipalities.

Ellison said every city and county has different rules. Rapid City’s bid included submitting plans for the management, operations, safety, engineering and monitoring of seeds for sale.

Black Hills Cannabis Care also plans to have dispensaries in Fort Pierre and Belle Fourche, although the Belle Fourche location is listed under Redwater Cannabis Care. The company also has a provisional license for a dispensary in Rapid City. Ellison said they also plan to have a manufacturing facility.

“Patients need to have a fairly wide variety of products to choose from,” Ellison said. “We’re teaming up with other locals or people in South Dakota and trying to create a network of people who are going to be in the manufacturing so that we can get these products flowing across the state and have high quality and a wide variety.”

Johnson said those in the industry have a common goal of moving the industry forward, so even though they have competitors, they share information. They will work with Black Hills Cultivation and Supplies to get their equipment.

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