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Learn About Marijuana In North Dakota

Frequently Asked Questions About Marijuana in North Dakota

Covering a majority of North Dakota, the great plains are rich with farmland, long-standing family lines, and rural traditions. With nearly 750,000 residents, North Dakota is not a highly populated place, and, yet, residents have joined together change how they collectively can influence cannabis policy. North Dakota has a new crop in town.

Is Marijuana Legal in North Dakota?

Voters in North Dakota have passed the North Dakota Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, Measure 5, creating a regulatory and licensing structure for patients, doctors, and dispensaries. This provides legal protections to patients, caregivers, physicians, and employees who work in the medical marijuana under state laws in the process.   

When Did Marijuana Become Legal in North Dakota?

Measure 5 appeared on the November 2016 ballot as a statewide initiative, passing with 63 percent support.

Where Are North Dakota Dispensaries Located?

North Dakota has finalized administrative rules to license compassion centers, growers, and processors of medical cannabis flower and infused products. As of August 2018, up to eight dispensaries and two manufacturing facilities will be licensed for operation across the state. Cities include:

  • Fargo
  • Bismarck
  • Grand Forks
  • Minot
  • Williston
  • Dickinson
  • Jamestown
  • Devil’s Lake

Are They Medical Dispensaries? Recreational? Both?

Compassion centers will be able to serve medical patients only.

Who Qualifies as a Medical Marijuana Patient in North Dakota?

North Dakota’s medical marijuana program requires an individual to be certified by a physician to use marijuana. In order to get a certification, an individual must have one of the following medical conditions, diseases, or ailments:

  • Cancer
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Crohn’s disease

A person suffering from a chronic or debilitating disease, medical condition, or its treatment that produces one or more of the following conditions may also be certified:

  • Severe, persistent muscle spasms
  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Intractable nausea
  • Severe pain which has not responded to common medication or surgery for at least 3 months or for which other pain treatment options produced serious side effects
  • Seizures

How Can I Register to Be a Medical Patient in North Dakota?

After receiving a certification from a qualified physician, the proposed rules for the medical program require a patient to submit an annual application fee of $50. The application includes:

  • Proof of residence in North Dakota
  • Certification papers from a licensed physician
  • Proof of identity such a birth certificate

Patients under the age of 19 are considered minors under the proposed regulations. Underage patients may be registered in the program by their parent or legal guardian. Additionally, the North Dakota Department of Health must receive documentation of the following before a minor can be registered to the program:

  • Evidence the minor's physician explained to the parent or legal guardian of the minor the potential risks and benefits of the medical use of marijuana.
  • Documentation the parent or legal guardian will allow the minor's medical use of marijuana.
  • Documentation the parent or legal guardian will serve as the minor's caregiver.
  • Consent, in writing, from the parent or guardian of the minor patient to control the purchase, dosage, and frequency of marijuana use by the minor.

Where Can Marijuana in North Dakota be Consumed?

Medical patients cannot possess or use marijuana in any form:

  • At a school, public or private, including on a school bus or on any school property
  • In any public vehicle
  • In a patient or caregivers place of employment
  • At a park, recreation center, youth center, or other places open to the public
  • In any correctional facility
  • On the property of a daycare or other facility designed for child care.

Patients may never consume marijuana or be under the influence of it in a place where doing so could cause harm or constitute negligence. Patients may not vaporize marijuana if the smoke or vapor may be unintentionally inhaled by a non-patient minor.

How Do I Find Work in the North Dakota Marijuana Industry?

The final rules for hiring compassion center agents or joining the board of a non-profit compassion center are as follows:

  • Employee must be 21 or older
  • Employee must have never been convicted of a felony’
  • Employee cannot have had a misdemeanor-level drug charge within the last five years

Is Drug Testing for Marijuana Legal in North Dakota?

Under the proposed rules for the program, employers are not prohibited from “disciplining an employee for possessing or consuming usable marijuana in the workplace or for working while under the influence of marijuana,” which could be interpreted to include drug testing as a method of determining on-the-job intoxication.

Is Delivery of Marijuana in North Dakota Legal?

North Dakota includes delivering medical marijuana to patients and caregivers in the legal authority provided to all licensed dispensaries. The proposed rules have this to say:

“A dispensary is not subject to prosecution, search or inspection, or seizure, except by the department or a department designee under this chapter for acting under this chapter to: a. Acquire, possess, deliver, transfer, transport, supply, sell, or dispense usable marijuana or related supplies and educational materials to registered qualifying patients and designated caregivers.”

How is Marijuana Paid for in North Dakota Dispensaries?

While the program does not require insurance companies to make payments for medical marijuana, the continued Schedule I status of marijuana, making it a federally-illegal narcotic, often makes banks uneasy. As a result, it is anticipated the program will allow patients to use cash or, possibly, a debit card to make purchases like in other medical marijuana states.

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North Dakota Marijuana Laws

November 2016 brought new marijuana laws to a total of eight states, including North Dakota. Ballot Measure 5, also known as the North Dakota Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, was passed by voters with 63 percent support. The Compassionate Care Program designed by the voter-backed initiative would allow individuals suffering from certain illnesses, diseases, or medical conditions to use marijuana as a method of treatment.

While the regulators of the program are, as of April 2017, still crafting the rules and regulations. Here is what we know from the program so far:

Purchase and Possession Limits

Medical marijuana patients and their caregivers may purchase in any 30-day period 2.5 ounces of flower (*only if a healthcare provider authorizes dry plant material) or 2,000 mg of other approved medical marijuana products. These include edibles, capsules, etc...

If a person is caught in possession of one ounce or less of marijuana and they do not hold a valid, active registration as a medical patient or caregiver, misdemeanor criminal charges - including fines up to $1,500 and as much as one month in jail - are possible. Any person caught with concentrate or hash product is subject to felony-level charges, fines up to $10,000, and as much as five years imprisonment. Additionally, North Dakota requires any person convicted of a drug-related offense to undergo a substance abuse evaluation.

Growing Marijuana at Home

Home-growing is illegal under North Dakota marijuana laws.

The law that voters passed in November 2016 allowed for hardship cultivation, a scenario wherein a patient living over forty miles from the nearest compassion center may be specially authorized to grow marijuana at home.

The passage of Senate Bill 2344 in January 2017 removed this provision. Patients can no longer grow their own medicine.

North Dakota applies penalties to marijuana cultivation based on possession weight. Any marijuana product weighing more than one ounce can be penalized with felony-level charges, including up to $10,000 in fines and as much as five years in prison.

Marijuana and Driving

Driving While Intoxicated

The proposed rules for the program dictate that driving under the influence shall maintain the same legal force for registered patients as non-patients, with one slight difference. Registered, qualifying patients are not immediately considered to be under the influence of marijuana solely because metabolites or components of marijuana appear in insufficient concentration to cause impairment.

Typically, since marijuana has been a forbidden substance for decades, the presence of any THC or THC-metabolite in a person’s blood or urine was enough to determine they had been using an illegal substance.

If it can be reasonably determined a person is intoxicated by marijuana while driving, fines up to $250, an addiction evaluation, and misdemeanor criminal charges await.

Driving While in Possession of Marijuana

Patients and their designated caregiver may purchase, possess, and transport marijuana within the allowable possession limit.

The laws do not authorize a person to use marijuana in any form while in a vehicle nor do they protect a patient from the possible legal penalties associated with transporting marijuana between state lines.

Marijuana and Minors

Under the program rules, minors under the age of 19 must be registered to the program by their parent. The Department of Health will not issue a registration ID for an underage patient unless the following has been received:

  • Written evidence the physician explained the potential risks and benefits of the marijuana treatments to the parent or legal guardian of the minor
  • Documentation the parent or guardian consents to the treatment on behalf of the patient
  • Documentation the parent or legal guardian will be the minor's caregiver
  • An agreement from the parent or guardian to monitor the purchase, dosage, and frequency which marijuana is being used by the minor
  • Verification from the parent or guardian saying they will keep medical marijuana in a locked place, secure from possible tampering

If a non-patient minor is caught in possession of marijuana, the same possession laws apply as mentioned above - misdemeanor criminal charges, fines up to $1,500, and as much as 30 days in jail if under one ounce. In addition, North Dakota juvenile court does have the authority to suspend a minor’s driving privileges for up to six months.

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