North Dakota lays out initial medical marijuana regulations

North Dakota’s medical marijuana industry took a big step this week when Gov. Douglas Burgum signed legislation laying out a regulatory framework for the state’s new MMJ program.

North Dakota voters overwhelmingly approved MMJ legalization in November, but the legislature decided the law that passed needed some work.

The law the governor signed includes several business-friendly provisions. Dispensaries, for instance, will be able to sell smokable medical marijuana, which will help attract patients to the program and, in turn, bolster revenue for the state’s MMJ industry.

The new law also bans home cultivation, meaning patients must buy all of their cannabis from licensed businesses.

Burgum, a Republican with an entrepreneurial background, said he would use his business experience to help launch the program, TV station KFYR reported.

“It’s exciting in the sense that it is like creating a startup, which I’ve had a chance to do a lot of in my life, but this is a big, complex startup,” Burgum told the Bismarck outlet.

After earning an MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the North Dakota native returned home and joined startup Great Plains Software in 1983. Burgum took the accounting software firm public in 1997 and sold it to Microsoft in 2001 for $1.1 billion. He worked as a Microsoft executive until 2007. After that, Burgum’s endeavors included founding a venture capital business and a downtown revitalization firm.