Medical cannabis expected to hit North Dakota shelves by summer 2018


State health officials in North Dakota have set a tentative timeline for establishing medical cannabis, expecting to have product available for patients by next spring.

The North Dakota Health Department is requesting any individual who is interested in growing or distributing medically legal cannabis should reach out and express interest. These letters are not binding, but will help gauge interest in the program.

In November, voters and the legislature approved the legalization of medical cannabis that Gov. Doug Burgum later approved in April.

Applications will open around early August and are projected to close by the end of September.

State officials estimate it will take growers six months to jumpstart the program and begin producing crops. It is also estimated patients will be able to receive their medicinal cannabis by between April to June of next year.  

Titled the North Dakota Compassionate Care Act, more than 17 diseases will be covered by the legislation and patients will not be able to grow their own medicine. Two distribution centers, or “compassion” centers, will distribute product to more than eight dispensaries. It is under the agency’s discretion to add more locations.

Although there is no cost for future growers and distributors to submit a letter of intent, the application fee for proposals will be priced at a non-refundable $5,000. Manufacturing operations face $110,000 for their certification, while dispensaries will be charged $90,000 for their two-year certificates.