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Sample ID card

A sample registry identification card.

The North Dakota Department of Health has printed and issued more that 70 medical marijuana identification cards to qualifying patients and designated caregivers this week, according to a news release.

The health department began accepting applications for medical marijuana registry ID cards on Oct. 29. Jason Wahl, director of the health department's Division of Medical Marijuana, said the issuance of the cards brings the program closer to "being fully implemented."

While some patients and caregivers have received ID cards, medical marijuana dispensaries have yet to open in the state. But the health department is expecting a dispensary in Grand Forks or Fargo to open next month.

"Until a dispensary is operational and has made sales to qualifying patients, we want to remind individuals their cards alone do not allow them to possess marijuana under the laws for the medical marijuana program," Wahl said.

Patients and caregivers are required to carry their cards with them while purchasing, transporting and consuming medical marijuana products. The health department said that North Dakota law enforcement agencies have been provided the ability to verify the ID card status.

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(Reach Blair Emerson at 701-250-8251 or Blair.Emerson@bismarcktribune.com)

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