North Dakota lawmakers OK medical marijuana industry rules

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North Dakota’s legislature has passed a bill establishing a regulatory structure for the state’s upcoming medical cannabis industry.

The measure – which now goes to the governor, who said he would sign the bill – includes several business-friendly provisions.

Dispensaries, for instance, will be able to sell smokable MMJ, which will help attract patients to the program and in turn bolster revenues for the state’s medical cannabis industry.

There’s one caveat, however: A doctor or nurse practitioner still must recommend smoking marijuana as medicine for people who suffer from certain medical conditions.

Still, it’s better than a proposal floated by some regulators and lawmakers that would have allowed patients to smoke medical marijuana only if a physician found that no other form of the drug, such as a low-THC extract, would help.

The bill sent on to the governor also bans home cultivation. That’s typically good news for the MMJ industry, as it means patients must buy all of their cannabis from licensed businesses.

“We’re about 80% happy with the way it turned out,” Rilie Ray Morgan, who ran the MMJ campaign last year, said of the bill.

But, he insisted, another MMJ ballot initiative could be an option if medical marijuana is not available in the state within the next year, as estimated by the state Health Department.

The industry rollout has already been delayed once.

– Staff and wire reports