North Dakota Lawmakers Consider Legislation to Update Medical Cannabis Program
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North Dakota Lawmakers Consider Legislation to Update Medical Cannabis Program

Bills pending in the state legislature would expand the list of qualifying conditions, allow edible products, and permit registered patients and caregivers to grow their own plants, among other changes.

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January 27, 2021

North Dakota lawmakers are considering legislation to update the state’s medical cannabis program, according to The Bismarck Tribune.

Legislators heard several bills Jan. 26 that would expand the list of qualifying conditions, allow edible products, and permit registered patients and caregivers to grow their own plants, among other changes.

Rep. Matt Ruby’s (R-Minot) H.B. 1359 focuses on patient advocacy, and would restructure the state’s medical cannabis advisory board to include members from cannabis manufacturing and retail facilities, as well as patients, The Bismarck Tribune reported. The bill would also increase the number of designated caregivers for each patient from one to three, and would eliminate the state’s $50 designated caregiver application fee.

Another bill, Rep. Gretchen Dobervich’s (D-Fargo) H.B. 1391, would allow North Dakota’s medical cannabis patients to access edible products in the form of soft or hard lozenges, the news outlet reported. A similar proposal from Dobervich was defeated in 2019, according to The Bismarck Tribune.

The House Human Services Committee also heard Rep. Marvin Nelson’s (D-Rolla) H.B. 1400, which would expand North Dakota’s list of qualifying conditions to include those that “a health care provider determines is appropriately treated by the use of medical marijuana,” The Bismarck Tribune reported. The legislation would also allow patients to submit medical records to qualify for the state’s medical cannabis program, rather than obtaining approval from a medical provider, according to the news outlet. The bill would also create a temporary medical cannabis card for qualified out-of-state patients, as well as establish a program for unannounced inspections at cannabis retailers, The Bismarck Tribune reported.

Finally, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard S.B. 2234, legislation introduced by Sen. Oley Larsen (R-Minot) that would allow registered patients and caregivers to grow up to eight cannabis plants, the news outlet reported.

The House Human Services Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee did not take immediate action on any of the cannabis-related bills on Tuesday, according to The Bismarck Tribune.

North Dakota voters approved medical cannabis legalization in 2016, and the state’s first dispensary opened in March 2019, the news outlet reported. There are currently 4,450 patients enrolled in the program and eight operational dispensaries in the state, according to The Bismarck Tribune.