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Axel Swanson, right, research director for state of Washington association of counties, speaks at a session on medical marijuana in 2017 at the North Dakota Association of Counties annual conference. Seated at right is Tara Brandner of the North Dakota attorney general's office.

Eight regions have been established for medical marijuana dispensaries, according to an announcement today by the North Dakota Department of Health.

Each region includes a 50-mile radius surrounding eight cities, including Fargo, Bismarck and Mandan, Grand Forks, Minot, Williston, Dickinson, Jamestown and Devils Lake. 

“Medical marijuana dispensaries are the locations where registered qualifying patients and registered designated caregivers will be able to purchase usable marijuana under the state’s medical marijuana program,” said Mylynn Tufte, a state health officer. “By establishing eight regions, the North Dakota Department of Health is able to provide access to dispensaries to the majority of the population in the state with as minimal travel as possible.”

A dispensary can be located anywhere within one of the regions. While the same entity can apply in multiple regions, the proposed rules only allow the same entity to possess one registration certificate.

“Even though an open application period for dispensaries is several months away, the NDDoH wants to provide prospective dispensary applicants sufficient time to determine which region or regions they’d like to apply in,” Tufte said. 

The state health department will be tracking purchased amounts and qualifying patients will not be able to purchase more than 2.5 ounces of dried leaves and flowers and 2,000 mg of THC total from all other products every 30 days. Qualifying patients must have authorization from their health care provider in order to purchase dried leaves and flowers.

Under the proposed rules, dispensaries will have the option to deliver usable marijuana directly to a registered qualifying patient or registered designated caregiver anywhere within the state.