With the pending signature of Gov. Doug Burgum, medical marijuana will become legal in North Dakota. Here’s a look at what’s next:
WHEN WILL IT BE AVAILABLE?
Within a year, according to state health officials who will regulate the system.
The health department expects five of every 1,000 North Dakotas to use medical marijuana, according to Deputy State Health Officer Arvy Smith. That’s based on the experience in Delaware, which uses a system similar to what North Dakota plans.
Kenan Bullinger, who directs North Dakota’s program, expects use to steadily rise. Again, that’s based on Delaware, where registered patient counts have risen from fewer than 50 the first year to more than 1,400 last year.
Neighboring Minnesota had plenty of growing pains with the medical marijuana program it approved in 2014. But Smith said Minnesota’s program is much more restrictive and not comparable. She said North Dakota will still look to Minnesota for expertise on processes and other issues.
WHO CAN USE IT?
People including minors with “debilitating medical conditions” can apply to the Health Department for a registry card that costs $50 per year. A doctor or nurse practitioner must authorize a hopeful patient. Cards can be revoked for misuse, and unsuccessful applicants have to wait a year to reapply.
State law lists 17 qualifying medical conditions, along with terminal illnesses. The Health Department will study adding others, but Fargo medical marijuana advocate Rilie Ray Morgan said he thinks the list is fairly comprehensive. Morgan headed last year’s initiative campaign that culminated with voters approving the drug.
WHAT KINDS OF POT CAN PEOPLE USE?
Capsules; a topical product for the skin or hair; a tincture solution; and a patch. Smoking it? Only if a doctor or nurse practitioner recommends that method.
Users also must follow various rules, such as