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Demand for Medical Marijuana bigger than predicted

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More North Dakotans are participating in the Medical Marijuana program than the state Health Department expected.

"We have just under 4400 patients that have a Medical Marijuana card," said Jason Wahl, the director of the Health Department's Medical Marijuana division.  Wahl said he had earlier projected about 4000 patients by the summer of 2021.

Wahl attributes some of this to the Legislature adding more medical conditions that can be treated this way. And he said the Legislature also agreed to allow physicians’ assistants to complete medical certification forms.

"I think the medical community has now had an opportunity to see how the program has rolled out, and the way the program is working," Wahl said. "We may have had some in the medical community in a 'wait-and-see' position -- and now they may be more willing to look at the program as a means for their patients to become eligible for the medical marijuana program as well."

The state has two medical marijuana manufacturing facilities – in Fargo and Bismarck – and eight distribution centers. Wahl said patients must still come to the dispensaries to receive the product.

"We do see ordering ahead, or on-line ordering, taking place," Wahl said. "That cuts down on an individual's time actually in the dispensary."

Wahl said he doesn’t expect the Health Department to propose any substantive changes to the program in the upcoming Legislative session.

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