Health Dep. holds hearings on new medical marijuana rules

Dec 14, 2017

Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The state Health Department has been holding a series of public hearings around North Dakota on the new rules for medical marijuana.

Voters in 2016 approved the use of medical marijuana. But the 2017 Legislature rewrote the measure to bring it into compliance with other state laws. Now, a package of administrative rules has been written to cover it.

A total of six public hearings are being held around the state. Written comments on the new rules must be received by December 26th.

"If we're able to get through all the comments, and provide that information to the Attorney General for review, hopefully that legal review will be completed in time for us to file with the Legislative Council  by Feb. 1," said Health Department interim Medical Marijuana Division director Jason Wahl. "That would give us the opportunity to be on the March 14th agenda of the Administrative Rules committee. That committee would decide whether to approve the rules."

If the Committee okays it, the earliest the rules could take effect is April 1st.

"Without approved rules, we're unable to open up permitting processes for manufacturing facilities and dispensaries," Wahl said.

Wahl said the process has taken a lot of time, but it’s important to get the rules right.

"We're hoping the end result is a well-regulated program for the state of North Dakota, that helps with the health and safety of patients and the general public," Wahl said.

The Health Dept. Medical Marijuana timeline.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public