The Status of Cannabis Legalization in ND
In recent North Dakota cannabis news, HB 1478 has passed both chambers and been signed by the Governor. House Bill 1478 permits terminally ill patients to use proof of their admittance in hospice care in lieu of a doctor’s written recommendation to register as a medical cannabis patient.
Cannabis in North Dakota was legalized for medical purposes in 2016 but remains illegal for recreational purposes. Possession of small recreational amounts is a misdemeanor crime.
Once given a doctor’s recommendation, North Dakotans may purchase at their nearest dispensary storefront or order for delivery when those businesses are accessible, but cannot be consumed in public.
While North Dakota has a medical cannabis program initiated by a ballot question in 2016, with up to 67% percent of residents voting for the measure, the Peace Garden state does not have a recreational use program in place. Legalize North Dakota, a citizen-run group, was so close to having a ballot question about for the 2020 General Election, but came up shy signatures due to COVID-19 quarantine.
Determined, the grassroots group, has not given up – still hoping to have a referendum question on can go on the 2020 election ballot instead. While the group has till the beginning of December 2020 to have their petition submitted, the state’s medical cannabis program offers residents who are eligible for the statewide program a chance to take the medicine that has proven to alleviate dozens of debilitating conditions.
As one of 33 states with a legal medical cannabis program, but still not yet one of the 11 states with recreational use, North Dakota remains on the line, which is moving back with each election cycle.
Unlike most states where patients are considered underage until 18, North Dakota adds a year to that, making patients applying for themselves to be at least 19 years old. North Dakota has a detailed list of qualifying conditions, first listing a terminal illness as immediate approval for a medical cannabis card. Other conditions include:
Additionally, North Dakota deems any chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or treatment for such disease or medical condition that produces one or more of the following including cachexia, severe debilitating pain that has not responded to previously prescribed medication or surgical measures for more than three months or for which other treatment options produced serious side effects.
Lastly, a patient who is at least 19 years old and has one or more of the qualifying conditions, must be able to prove they are a North Dakota resident by providing a valid state driver’s license or identification card. The patient must also pay a $50 annual card registration fee.
Any state-registered caregiver designated to a qualifying North Dakota medical cannabis patient must undergo a background check to be approved. Like the patient, the caregiver must also prove they are a North Dakota resident with a valid state driver’s license or identification card. The caregiver must also pay a $50 annual card registration fee.
Possession and Cultivation
North Dakota offers an array of medical cannabis products, permitting patients to possess up to 2.5 ounces of dried flower every 30-days without penalty. North Dakota also has other forms of medical cannabis products patients can possess, also permitting patients to have up to 4000 mg of total THC products. There are no cultivation laws in North Dakota, so patients must purchase the various types of permittable THC-infused products from state-run dispensaries.