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Medical Marijuana Will Become Legal In North Dakota Within A Year

17 April 2017, 7:18 am EDT By Anu Passary Tech Times
Compassionate Care Centers would open in North Dakota in January 2018. Strict rules and laws will be established for production, distribution, and usage of medical marijuana in the state.  ( David McNew | Getty Images )

North Dakota will soon get access to medical marijuana at some government registered centers once Governor Doug Burgum signs the petition.

The move to bring medical marijuana in the state met with voters' approval in November 2016 and last week, the legislators approved the regulatory plan.

However, strict rules have been chalked out regarding the production, distribution, and usage of medical marijuana in North Dakota, which is anticipated to become legal in the state within a year.

Medical Marijuana Availability

According to North Dakota state health officials, medical marijuana will become available within a year in the state.

Arvy Smith, the Deputy State Health Officer, stated that the department estimates that 5 out of every 1,000 North Dakotans will use medical marijuana.

However, according to Kenan Bullinger, director of the medical marijuana North Dakota program, this usage rate may steadily increase with time. Bullinger's assertions are based on medical marijuana usage in Delaware, where the number of registered patients increased from just 50 in the first year to over 1,400 in 2016.

The health department is planning to register two "compassion centers" or Compassionate Care Centers in North Dakota to facilitate mass production of marijuana. The health department will also have eight centers to dispense medical marijuana.

However, to qualify as an applicant for a marijuana manufacturing center in North Dakota, several criteria exist.

The application criteria includes a massive fee of $110,000 to get the two-year certificate required for manufacturing operations. There are also stringent security measures. Moreover, the applicant also has to shell out $90,000 for the dispensaries.

The center will also be subjected to random inspections from the health department staff to ascertain if it is functioning properly and legally.

Additionally, all the center officials or "agents" — which includes owners, investors, and employees — will undergo a background check and are required to have a drug-free record. All the agents will also need to pay $200.

Who Can Use Medical Marijuana And Where Will They Get It?

Patients, including minors suffering from "debilitating medical conditions," are eligible to receive medical marijuana. People with such conditions, including minors, will have to apply to the Health Department for a $50 registry card every year.

The patient is required to be authorized by a practicing nurse or doctor. The government has the authority to revoke a card if they think it has been misused. People whose application for the card is unsuccessful have to wait a year before they can reapply.

Patients suffering from an illness under the "State law lists of 17 qualifying medical conditions, along with terminal illnesses" are eligible to receive medical marijuana.

Patients or their care givers will have to pick up the marijuana directly from the dispensary or through the dispensary's delivery system. The marijuana cannot be obtained through third-party delivery systems or FedEx.

In addition, North Dakotans will have to buy the medical marijuana from dispensaries in the state. They cannot buy it from another state and bring it inside North Dakota.

Available Dose Of Medical Marijuana

A registered patient or a caregiver will be able to buy not more than 2.5 ounces of flowers or dried leaves within 30 days. They must not have more than 3 ounces of marijuana in possession on any occasion.

According to reports, North Dakota government plans to spend over $1 million to monitor and run the medical marijuana program during the next two years. The project is expected to cost around $3.2 million in the ensuing two-year budget cycle and would be a self-supported program.

The first Compassionate Care Centers are anticipated to become functional in January 2018.

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