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Legislative floor sessions have been running into the evening to ensure that all bills are heard before crossover. Below is a summary of some bills heard last week.

The House Human Services Committee reviewed six marijuana bills, including House Bill 1119, 1272, 1283, 1417, 1519. Several were combined to address access, debilitating conditions and edibles. The committee combined the language to expand the medical conditions that would allow patients to use medical marijuana. Some of the new conditions covered are opioid withdrawal, anxiety disorder, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis and autism spectrum disorder.

The committee changed the way medical providers deal with medical marijuana patients. The legislation still requires a strong medical provider-patient relationship. The provider must still certify that the patient has one of the conditions allowed to be covered under the law, but they no longer must certify that the patient may be helped by medical marijuana. Health care providers allowed to certify use, subject to their scope of practice, are medical doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.

HB1364 would allow licensed medical marijuana dispensaries to include edible marijuana products for sale. The supporters said this would allow greater access to medical marijuana for people unable to smoke or ingest it in other forms. The law would attempt to prevent children from unintentionally accessing the product by prohibiting the edible products to be in cartoon forms or other attractive forms for children. The State Health Council would be required to create rules for labeling the products to warn of the consequences of unintentional ingestion. The committee amended the bill to clarify the restrictions on marketing the products to minors and to give the Health Council the ability to adopt rules to enforce the marketing restrictions. The committee voted 10-3-1 to pass as amended.

The House Government and Veterans Affairs Committee heard HB1435, which authorizes a trunk system for a state interoperable radio network since many communication systems in the state are archaic. The state would invest $40 million along with $80 million in loan from the Bank of North Dakota. The remaining project costs, approximately $86 million, would be the responsibility of cities and counties. The bill appropriation also includes a $1,500 state subsidy for public safety radios. The committee voted 13-0-1 to pass as amended and re-referred the bill to the Appropriations Committee.

Also heard was HB1223 relating to the powers of the highway patrol to exercise general police powers. The patrol currently has authority to respond to emergency situations on private property upon request of the local jurisdiction. This bill would allow the patrol to exercise general police powers over any violation of law committed on public or private property when requested by another law enforcement agency. This would provide supplemental law enforcement services when local resources are unavailable. The bill passed in committee, 8-5-1.

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Rep. Karen Rohr, R-Mandan, is acting chair of the House Human Services Committee and serves on the Government and Veterans Affairs Committee. She can be contacted at kmrohr@nd.gov or by leaving a message at 888-635-3447.

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