North Dakota Fails to Decriminalize Marijuana but Plans to Open First Medical Marijuana Shop
During past years, cannabis laws in North Dakota have witnessed several changes. A recent measure to decriminalize recreational marijuana was unsuccessful by a small margin. However, in the meantime, the state is working on the medical marijuana front, as North Dakota’s first-ever medical marijuana dispensary is set to launch.
Lawmakers in the North Dakota House recently voted on a new bill calling for the decriminalization of cannabis. But for marijuana enthusiasts in the state, the bill failed. It lost in a 47-43 vote.
If successful, the bill could lead to some significant changes to state laws. It could not have legalized recreational weed. But lawmakers favoring the bill stated that it was an opportunity to lessen the common hazard caused by prohibition, without necessarily legalizing the drug at full scale.
The suggested change would have legalized the possession of an ounce or less of weed.
However, due to the failure of the bill, there has been no change concerning North Dakota’s laws against recreational marijuana. According to the rundown of rules, the possession of less than one ounce of cannabis is a Class B violation. Thus, it’s punishable and includes fines of up to a thousand dollars as well as jail time.
Notably, the possession of more than an ounce is considered a crime in North Dakota. Being charged for a cannabis-related offense can lead to fines as high as $20,000 and 20 years of jail time.
According to local sources, judges hardly sentence people with cannabis-related offenses in a severe manner. However, the lack of a formal decriminalization bill makes such heavy-handed sentences very possible.
Although the failure of North Dakota’s decriminalization bill may be detrimental for larger legalization movements, the medical marijuana program of North Dakota is about to reach a key milestone.
North Dakota’s first-ever medical cannabis dispensary is set to launch on February 28th. The shop will be named The Botanist, and it will open in the city of Fargo.
This shows a significant development and growth of medical marijuana in the state. In 2016, voters in North Dakota first authorized the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes. The medical marijuana bill was victorious by a 63-37 percent margin.
From that time, state authorities have tried to finalize legal and regulatory structures. Furthermore, possible business owners have submitted applications and officials have started granting licenses.
Currently, there are two medical marijuana manufacturing organizations in North Dakota which are found in Fargo and Bismarck.
With the launching of the first dispensary next week, state regulators have as their goal to establish dispensaries in a total of eight cities by the end of the year.
According to the current medical marijuana laws of North Dakota, there are currently 17 health conditions that qualify for access to medical cannabis. Now, there have been about 120 medical marijuana cards granted to patients and caregivers. However, experts have forecasted a rundown of 4,000 patients taking part in the program in the upcoming years