North Dakota bills would improve medical marijuana access

February 9th, 2019 by admin Leave a reply »

As North Dakota’s Health Department enters the final stages of implementing a statewide distribution system for medical marijuana, state lawmakers are considering proposals that would make it easier for patients to get doctor approval for the drug.

Medical marijuana advocates are applauding, especially after more than two years of waiting for the drug approved by voters in November 2016.

“At this point, we’ll take anything that makes it easier for providers to certify any patient that they feel would benefit,” said Anita Morgan, spokeswoman for North Dakota Compassionate Care, which pushed for legalization of medical marijuana.

A proposal that appears headed for a floor vote in the House would add physician assistants to the list of medical professionals who can certify patients. The list currently includes physicians and advanced practice registered nurses.

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Another important proposed change would help ease the concerns of doctors who must give their approval before patients can get state-approved medical marijuana cards.

The Health Department hopes to have medical marijuana dispensaries operating in the state’s eight major cities by fall. Medical marijuana grown at a state-approved Bismarck manufacturing facility could be available at either the Grand Forks or Fargo dispensary within weeks, according to Jason Wahl, director of the department’s Medical Marijuana Division.

The state estimates that as many as 4,000 residents will legally be using the drug by summer 2021. But so far, it has issued fewer than 100 medical marijuana cards to patients and caregivers. Applications have been accepted since

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