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Bill for homegrown medical marijuana withers in North Dakota Senate

Bill for homegrown medical marijuana withers in North Dakota Senate

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Oley Larsen

Oley Larsen

North Dakota's Senate on Thursday nipped in the bud a bill that would have allowed homegrown medical marijuana.

The Senate voted 42-4 to kill Senate Bill 2234. The bill by Sen. Oley Larsen, R-Minot, would have allowed registered qualified patients or designated caregivers to grow up to eight marijuana plants in an enclosed, locked facility.

Larsen said he brought the bill in the spirit of the 2016 ballot measure that created North Dakota's medical marijuana program for treating certain debilitating health conditions. The bill also meant to improve access to the drug for people who have economic hardship reaching dispensaries.

Bill opponents, who included law enforcement officers, were concerned about how growing operations would be regulated.

Sen. Janne Myrdal, R-Edinburg, said the Senate Judiciary Committee looked into price issues some families face, but ultimately gave the bill a unanimous do-not-pass recommendation because "we felt that the scope of this bill was too wide and had too many consequences that were not desired." 

North Dakota's medical marijuana program has 4,450 active patient cards, with eight dispensaries in the state, including one in Bismarck. The state's first dispensary opened in Fargo in March 2019.

Other bills this session would add edible products to the program, restructure the state's medical marijuana advisory board and allow additional caregivers to manage patients' use of the drug.

Reach Jack Dura at 701-223-8482 or jack.dura@bismarcktribune.com.

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