Medical Marijuana Bill passes Senate

Feb 23, 2017

Sen. Oley Larsen (R-Minot).
Credit Courtesy ND Legislature

The state Senate has passed a bill to regulate medical marijuana.

The new regulations are designed to implement the initiated measure passed by voters in the November election.

"The main objective was to insure the voters are going to get medical marijuana," said Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson), the bill's main sponsor. "All parties involved were committed to doing the right thing. And I think we got it."

The state Health Department will administer the program.

The bill allows marijuana to be smoked, if a doctor determines smoking is the best way for the patient to receive the cannabis. Smoking was not permitted in the first draft of the bill.

Sen. Oley Larsen (R-Minot) does not like the idea of allowing smoking of the marijuana plant.

"It is illegal to smoke dope in North Dakota, as far as the Feds consider it," Larsen said during floor debate. "Tha't's what this is -- it is smokin' dope."

The bill passed  40 to 6. It will now go to the house – where more tweaking could happen. It needs two-thirds votes in both the Senate and the House to pass – because it changes an initiated measure.