North Dakota


North Dakota: A year after medical marijuana was approved, patients still a long way from relief

The Galesburg woman was elated when 64 percent of North Dakota voters approved a ballot measure legalizing medical marijuana in 2016, a move she believes will bring her relief from chronic nerve pain.

But a year after the measure passed, the Department of Health says it's 11 to 13 months from delivering product to patients and still has to receive public feedback and legislative approval on a set of rules guiding the new program. Paulson's patience is fading.

"I'm frustrated with the process," she said.

Paulson, 50, has suffered from multiple sclerosis for 16 years. Four years ago she was diagnosed with atypical trigeminal neuralgia, a rare disorder of the fifth cranial nerve that causes severe pain in the facial area.


Rocker and cancer survivor Melissa Etheridge busted for medical marijuana at US/Canadian border

Popular rocker Melissa Etheridge was taken into custody by U.S. Customs in North Dakota as she attempted to return from Canada into the U.S.

According to the report, drug-sniffing dogs detected her marijuana oil — which Etheridge says she uses to manage pain from cancer — as she was returning to the U.S.

While the weed derivative is legal in California where she obtained it, it is not in North Dakota where she was arrested, leading to charges of possession of a controlled substance which she did not dispute.


North Dakota counties probe potential issues with legalization of medical marijuana

With the clock ticking on the implementation of medical marijuana in North Dakota, county officials are examining the potential issues that may arise.

Local government representatives packed a conference room Monday for a session on the impacts of the legalization of medical marijuana on counties, as part of the North Dakota Association of Counties' annual conference in Bismarck.

Participants in the session inquired about employment practices and guidelines in response to the legalization of medical marijuana. Tara Brandner, assistant attorney general, said county governments should be left to determine their hiring practices.

"The position that the state is working towards is zero tolerance," Bradner said of state employees.


Interested North Dakota medical marijuana growers, dispensaries asked to submit letters of intent

The North Dakota Department of Health wants a better idea of how many applications it will receive from medical marijuana growers and dispensaries in the coming months.

The department asked for letters of intent from entities interested in applying to become a registered “compassion center” under the state’s new medical marijuana law Friday, July 7. The letters are due by the end of business July 28.

Kenan Bullinger, director of the department’s medical marijuana division, said an application period will follow the deadline for the letters of intent. A $5,000 non-refundable fee is required with the request for proposal application, not the letter of intent, he said.


Lawmakers Approve Changes to ND Medical Marijuana Bill

North Dakota legislators have approved changes to the state’s medical marijuana bill which was passed by voters last November and Gov. Burgum said he’ll sign it.

Senators approved regulations to the bill with a two-thirds majority vote.

Under the changes, North Dakota can have up to two growers and eight dispensaries statewide.

The organization in charge of the medical marijuana operation can add more if needed.

Patient fees were dropped from $200 to just $50 a year.

“We’re trying to get medical into the hands of patients as soon as we possibly can without compromising the safety of the product and avoiding diversions into hands of people illegally,” said Kenan Bullinger, the Medical Marijuana Initiative director.


Northern North Dakota senator raises concerns about high cost of medical marijuana

A Republican Minot senator raised concerns about the price of medical marijuana at a town hall meeting over the weekend -- making note that he asked for a fee of only $25 to get an authorization card instead of the $200 fee proposed so far in the Senate bill.

Medical marijuana would be expensive in North Dakota under a legislative bill that passed 40-6 in Senate and now is before the House, he said.

Sen. Oley Larsen, R-Minot, cited costs that could run from $300 to $700 a month for those who smoke medical marijuana to $1,200 to $1,700 a month for those who use the oil.


North Dakota House passes medical marijuana delay

A bill that would delay parts of North Dakota's new medical marijuana law awaits Gov. Doug Burgum's signature.

The House passed Senate Bill 2154 with just one dissenting vote Friday, Jan. 20. The bill would suspend provisions of the North Dakota Compassionate Care Act to give the state Department of Health more time to set up rules.

The suspension would last through July 31 or the effective date of legislation authorizing the prescription, dispensing, growth and use of medical marijuana, whichever comes first.

Lawmakers argued Friday that they were not trying to deny the will of the voters who passed the law in November, but rather sought to make sure proper regulations are put in place.


North Dakota Legislature Attempts to Stall Medical Marijuana

Lawmakers say they need more time to make medical marijuana work.

North Dakota lawmakers are claiming they need for more time to implement the state’s new medical marijuana program.

According to the Associated Press, a joint session was recently held between the House and Senate in an effort to prolong the state's total prohibitionary standard.

Democrats and Republicans are blown away by the fact that marijuana legalization was actually approved in the election last November, are now trying to apply the brakes in order to give state health officials and law enforcement time to get up to speed.


10 Places That Passed Landmark Marijuana Laws in 2016

2016 is a year that will live in infamy, but one clear winner across the board was cannabis. The United States watched as eight more states legalized cannabis for medical or recreational purposes, and the ripple effect of legalization has been felt throughout the globe. 

Revel in these states' and countries' cannabis victories and look to the future with renewed optimism. What will 2017 bring? We can't wait to find out! 


Health Insurers Won't Cover Medical Marijuana in North Dakota

North Dakota voters overwhelmingly approved the legalization of medical marijuana, and lawmakers are grappling with launching the program. But patients are about to learn that legalization does not mean insurance will cover the cost.

Major health insurers in North Dakota have said they will not provide coverage for medical marijuana, which voters approved in the November election by a margin of almost 64 percent, citing what they say is inadequate evidence of its effectiveness.

“We don’t cover it in Minnesota nor will we in North Dakota,” said Greg Bury, senior manager for public relations at Medica. “We don’t believe the efficacy has yet been established.”


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