Medical marijuana rewrite passes, on its way to the Governor

Apr 13, 2017

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson), the prime sponsor of the medical marijuana bill.

Sen. Judy Lee (R-West Fargo), chairman of the Senate Human Services Committee.
Credit ND Legislature

Its sponsors call it “landmark legislation.”

The state Senate has passed a bill that rewrites the medical marijuana initiated measure – to make sure the state can regulate it. The bill sets out the allowable forms medical marijuana can take – including smoking. It sets limits on the amount of allowable THC in the product. And it works to make sure it isn’t used for recreation.

"All of the work we've been doing (on this bill) is to implement what the voters said they wanted," said Sen. Judy Lee (R-West Fargo), the chairman of the Senate Human Services Committee. "To do it in a way that law enforcement and the Health Department can manage."

Lee told her Senate colleagues it's a good bill.

"We have tried very hard  to do the will of the people, and to make it work," Lee said.

The main sponsor – Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) – called it a “major” piece of legislation in North Dakota’s history.

"There's a lot of sweat, and blood, and tears taht have gone into this particular piece of legislation," Wardner said. "We are going where we have never gone before. And I think we are going forward with policy that will be good for the people of North Dakota as far as administration, regulation and safety."

The Senate adopted House amendments to the bill – then passed it 38 to 9 – more than the two-thirds vote needed to change an initiated measure. The House vote was also over that two-thirds threshold. So the bill now goes to Governor Burgum.