North Dakota is accepting medical cannabis patients’ applications even as its timeline seems to falter on preparing for dispensaries and cultivation sites to open.
The state’s health department announced that it would start taking applications for medical cannabis registry cards from patients and their caregivers who qualify under one of the 17 approved conditions under The North Dakota Compassionate Care Act. The window begins Oct. 29 and ends April 19, 2019. However, there are signs that the supply won’t be ready to meet the demand for qualifying patients when those patients first get their registry cards in December, when the department plans to print and mail them.
In August, the North Dakota Health Department said it hoped to have medical cannabis available in Bismarck and Fargo by the end of the year. Pure Dakota in Bismarck and Grassroots Cannabis in Fargo have yet to receive local government approval, including approval from local zoning authorities, or meet state requirements. Applications for Grand Forks and Williston were opened in August, and the last four dispensary locations will be open to applications and hopefully awarded by year-end.
The state plans on having all eight locations open by June 30, 2019, but cardholders will be able to go to any open location to receive their cannabis. “Patients can go to any of the dispensaries, and dispensaries may be offering home delivery services, as well,” said Jason Wahl, medical marijuana division director for the North Dakota Department of Health. He predicts medical cannabis will be available to patients early next year.
Wahl also predicts that the first dispensaries will be open next month, even as they wait for approvals from local officials. “It really is dependent on the real estate transactions and how quickly they’re able to have their plans approved by the local government, and also get their renovation work and meet the other requirements under the . . . rules for the program,” he said.