Interest shown in medical marijuana 'compassion centers'

Jul 21, 2017

File photo
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The state Health Department says it has so far received 9 letters of intent from people interested in submitting a proposal to become a registered “compassion center” for medical marijuana.

Under state law, a compassion center is a medical marijuana grower or manufacturing facility, or a dispensary. The law says up to two manufacturers and eight dispensaries can be established.

"We do want to try to get dispensaries strategically located through every region of the state," said Health Department Medical Marijuana division director Kenan Bullinger. "We want to have the best access possible for patients or caregivers, so they don't have to drive so far."

Bullinger said the next step will be for those interested to actually apply for the designation. But he said that process won’t start until the rules are finalized.

"We don't know when that is going to start," Bullinger said.

The plan originally was to have the rules ready by early August.

"It may be a little later than that," Bullinger said. "Maybe mid-August or so."

Once that happens, the application period will open.

"We will accept applications for about seven weeks," Bullinger said.

Bullinger said an application has to be accompanied by a non-refundable $5,000 application fee. He said the hope is to have medical marijuana available within 12 to 18 months of the time Gov. Burgum signed the legislation.