Richie Diesterheft

North Dakota lawmakers are considering delaying the rollout of the state’s voter-backed medical cannabis initiative, with legislators from both sides of the aisle saying implementing the new regime takes time, according to a KFYR-TV report. If passed, parts of the medical cannabis law would not take effect until July 31.

“We want to do it right. We want to make sure that the potency is right, that the proper people can distribute, the proper people can grow, that people have access to it, and all those things take time,” Senate Minority Leader Joan Heckaman, a Democrat, said in the report.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner said lawmakers will “make sure” that patients get access to medical cannabis in accordance with the will of the voters, but officials need to ensure they get it “in a safe form.”

The state Department of Health is responsible for monitoring product potency and licensing growers and distributors. A bill finalizing some of those rules is expected in the coming weeks.

Sheri Paulson, one of the activists who worked on Measure 5, said she was skeptical of the move, but after testifying at a hearing dedicated to the issue, was convinced that delaying the bill will ensure the best version of the law is put forth.

“It’s not only good for the patients, but it’s also good for them, so it benefits everybody all around,” she said.

The Health Department estimates they will need at least $2.7 million over the next two years to implement the law.

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