With 63 percent approval, North Dakota voters have just passed the medical marijuana legalization initiative known as Measure 5. It means that patients with PTSD, Crohn’s disease, HIV, cancer, and other qualifying conditions will soon be able to legally buy medical cannabis in licensed dispensaries.
North Dakota became the 28th state to legalize the drug for medicinal purposes, following Florida and Arkansas. In Montana, the state that had already passed the initiative in 2014, a separate measure loosening the restrictions on the existing medical cannabis law has also been approved.
A qualified patient can possess up to three ounces of cannabis and grow up to eight plants at home if it is located more than forty miles from the nearest dispensary. A system of compassion centers that would dispense medical marijuana is to be created.
North Dakota’s measure is more constrained than most other medical marijuana initiatives. In order to obtain medical cannabis, a patient needs to get an identification card listing specific ailments. The following list of medical conditions are covered under the North Dakota Compassionate Care Act:
- Cancer and its treatments;
- HIV and AIDS;
- multiple sclerosis;
- hepatitis C;
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
- Alzheimer’s disease (Dementia);
- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease);
- Crohn’s disease;
- spinal stenosis, and
- chronic or debilitating disease, medical condition, or its treatment that produces cachexia, wasting syndrome, severe debilitating pain, intractable nausea, seizures, severe and persistent muscle spasms.
Furthermore, according to Measure 5, the Health Department would be able to “perform on-site interviews of a qualified patient or primary caregiver to determine eligibility for the program” by entering the premises with only a 24-hours notice.
It should be said that medical marijuana is not quite legal yet in North Dakota. The State Department of Health now has 90 days to implement rules and regulations regarding medical weed. North Dakota will soon get to the business of setting up regulatory frameworks and preparing to issue licenses to dispensaries and growers over the next several years.