The North Dakota Department of Health has submitted rules governing the state's voter-approved medical marijuana program, according to a statement released Monday.

A 50-page document, which was submitted to the state Legislative Council, will now go out for public comment.

"The (Department of Health) has thoughtfully crafted these rules to ensure patient safety, product safety and public safety,” said Mylynn Tufte, a state health officer. “The department is committed to a transparent process, and we welcome the public’s input on the proposed rules.”

The Department of Health will hold public hearings in six locations across the state Dec. 11-14. Written comments can be submitted until Dec. 26. For more information, visit www.ndhealth.gov/mm.

Health officials anticipate filing all required information for the rules no later than Feb. 1 in order to be presented in March to the legislative Administrative Rules Committee. If the committee approves the rules in March, the earliest they could be finalized is April 1.

The Department of Health will not be accepting applications for manufacturing facilities or dispensaries until at least April 1.

A new interim director has been named to lead the division of medical marijuana as outgoing director Kenan Bullinger is retiring. Jason Wahl is replacing Bullinger, which was effective Nov. 1.

Wahl, who was previously the performance audit manager at the state auditor's office, said he has been working for the Department of Health since August as the compliance auditor, with a focus on assisting the division of medical marijuana in drafting the administrative rules.

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