How cannabis helped change a community

Lawmakers and voters statewide are still at odds trying to figure out whether to repeal or legalize marijuana.
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 1:12 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - While many lawmakers and voters are still at odds trying to figure out whether to repeal or legalize marijuana in South Dakota, the business has become commonplace on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

No Worries Dispensary was the first recreational cannabis dispensary to open in South Dakota. When they first opened their doors they were the only cannabis business in town, but now, there are three other recreational dispensaries to compete with. The owner of No Worries says this competition isn’t a bad thing.

“I think it’s a healthy competition and overall the goal and objective is to get this product out to everybody who needs it and whatever shop that they feel comfortable at, I think that’s always a positive thing,” said Adonis Saltes, the owner of No Worries Dispensary.

The Oglala Sioux Revenue Office reported there was $1.3 million in cannabis sales for the first two quarters it was legal in 2022, generating about $165,000 in tax revenue. Saltes says this number is likely in the millions for this year so far.

“I’m not too sure the exact number but I know the industry has generated millions so far and you know people are coming from Rapid City and honestly all across the state,” said Saltes.

He said that he sees a good mix of people from on and off the reservation coming to his store. Saltes thinks that having people come more often and having the revenue contribute to local projects is changing the way people see Pine Ridge as a whole.

“It’s helping the town so much ‘cause it’s changing just the perception of Pine Ridge, showing them that it’s inviting and welcoming,” he explained.

Pine Ridge is unique because the town has alcohol prohibited and cannabis legalized, the inverse of many towns in the country. Saltes thinks this is the right choice for his community.