medical marijuana

Medical cannabis helping hundreds of patients in Moorhead

Sep 20, 2018
D. Webster

Minnesota Medical Solutions, or "MinnMed" CEO Dr. Joseph Westwater says there are currently 17,000 patients in Minnesota with qualified conditions that may be treated with medical cannabis.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Legislators on an interim committee overseeing the implementation of the Medical Marijuana law say they’re hearing frustration from their constituents about how long the process has been taking.

But the head of the State Health Department’s Medical Marijuana division said other states have experienced this kind of time lag from when the measure was passed to when the product becomes available.

The Bank of North Dakota remains the only state-owned bank in the US.

And Bank President Eric Hardmeyer said he still gets contacts from other states and political subdivisions about it.

"They ask how it works and why it works," Hardmeyer said.

Hardmeyer said what’s driving it is the growing number of states that have legalized either medical or recereational marijuana. Hardmeyer said states are now trying to deal with revenues coming in from this cash-only business.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Supporters of an initiated measure to legalize recreational marijuana in North Dakota have submitted petitions to the Secretary of State to get the measure on the November ballot.

The group needs 13,452 valid signatures. The group submitted petitions with around 18,700 signatures.

"We did something that I don't think a lot of people thought was possible," said "Legalize ND" chairman David Owen. "Not only did we do it, we exceeded it."

Owen said his group received a lot of positive responses from those who signed.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The director of the State Health Department’s Medical Marijuana division says the plan is to have medical marijuana available in North Dakota by the end of the calendar year.

Jason Wahl told the Legislature’s Administrative Rules committee – a big hurdle was the approval of the new administrative rules governing it.

"The Department is committing to implementing this program as quickly as it can," Wahl told the Committee. "It needs to insure the program is implemented in a well-regulated manner."

North Dakota is one step closer to implementing medical marijuana: the state has awarded a contract for a medical marijuana tracking system.

The system is called BioTrackTHC, which includes a seed-to-sale tracking system, as well as a registration system. Medical Marijuana Division Director Jason Wahl says this will help the state effectively monitor all activities of manufacturing and dispensing facilities.

People who want to start manufacturing facilities or “compassion centers” for medical marijuana in North Dakota will have difficulty getting a loan from a bank or credit union – and will also face barriers if they want to deposit money from medical marijuana sales into a bank account.

"Marijuana is still considered an illegal substance, said North Dakota Bankers' Association president Rick Clayburgh.

The federal government still considers it a "schedule one" drug.

File photo

The state Health Department has established eight regions for medical marijuana dispensaries.

The eight regions are based on the state’s largest cities -- Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks, Minot, Dickinson, Jamestown, Williston and Devils Lake.

A dispensary can be located within a 50 mile radius of each of those cities.

Medical Marijuana Division interim director Jason Wahl said the requirements for a dispensary are outlined in state law.

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.

Initiative would legalize recreational marijuana in ND

Nov 29, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

In 2016 – North Dakota voters approved medical marijuana.

Now another group wants to legalize “recreational pot.” That group has submitted a proposed initiated measure to Secretary of State Al Jaeger.

"It's time to end prohibition," said steering committee spokesman Josh Dryer of West Fargo. "There's no reason for it to be illegal -- nor should there ever have been a reason."