The capitol building of North Dakota.


Questions Abound in North Dakota About Enacting New MMJ Law

Officials in North Dakota are working toward implementing the medical marijuana referendum approved by voters on Election Day, which requires that the measure be enacted within 30 days of its passage, the Minot Daily News reports. The text of the law is 33 pages, filled with stipulations and some provisions could be subject to interpretation.

Arvy Smith, deputy state health officer for the Department of Health, indicated that enacting the law within the 30-day window is “not possible” due to issues with staffing and how some sections of the law were written.

“More importantly, we need some legal clarification with the measure. Some of those prevent us from moving forward,” Smith said in the report. “It will take a two-thirds vote of the next legislative session to make the corrections.”

That super-majority requirement is of great concern for state Sen. Oley Larson, who anticipates the program will “be a free-for-all when it gets rolling,” and will need to be amended by lawmakers – who will have some time because cannabis won’t be available for at least the nine months it takes to grow the plant from a seed.

“I think it’s going to be implemented but our law is pretty loose,” he said. “I thought it was for cancer and maybe four applications but, from what I’ve been reading, if you have a prescription from anywhere you can get it when it’s here.”

The Health Department, who is tasked with overseeing the program, estimates they will need at least $2.7 million over the next two years to implement the law. Additionally, the measure requires that products be laboratory tested before they are made available for sale. Larson said he is unaware of any testing facilities in the state that can perform the mandatory tests.

It’s been 15 days since the passage of the law.

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