Delaying implementation of medical marijuana

Jan 16, 2017

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson), testifying before a joint House-Senate Human Services committee hearing on the medical majiuana delay bill (1/16/17).
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Legislative leaders say the state Health Department needs more time to set up rules and regulations on medical marijuana.

Voters in November passed a measure legalizing the use of medical cannabis.

The bill would delay implementation of the medical marijuana law until the end of July. It was supposed to take effect 30 days after the November election, which would have been Dec. 8th, 2016.

"It (the bill) is not to stop the use of medical marijuana," Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson), the bill's main sponsor, told a hearing of the House and Senate Human Services Committees. "It is simply to do it right."

Wardner said a bill laying out the rules is being drafted by the state Health Department, and it will be introduced late this week or early next week.

"If we don't do this right, the state of North Dakota will pay and pay and pay for years," Wardner said. "Not only financially, but also socially."

Anita Morgan of Fargo is with the steering committee that got the “Compassionate Care Act” on the ballot.

"We've tried to make sure that it is safe and accessible," Morgan told the committees. "It will be used for medicine."

"We want to make sure that those people that need the marijuana in order to take care of their medical condition get it," Wardner said. "And we want to make sure they get the quality they deserve."

Besides Wardner, the other floor leaders are also bill sponsors.

Anita Morgan of Fargo, on the steering committee for the Compassionate Care Act, testifies before the House and Senate Human Services Committees (1/16/17).
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public