Legislature discusses logistics of medical marijuana being legalized in ND

By  | 

BISMARCK, N.D. - Voters decided in November they wanted access to medical marijuana for those who need it, but the logistics seem to be left to the state legislature.

Members of both parties say they have one goal: give patients safe and responsible access to medical marijuana.

Rep. Kathy Hogan, D-Fargo, thinks some members of the legislature isn't giving voters what they want.

"The original draft of the bill did not give the voters what they asked for," said Hogan.

Hogan is talking about Measure 5, which would legalize medical marijuana and passed overwhelmingly last November.

"More people supported Measure 5, percentage wise, than supported President Trump in this election. It's important to us because it's important to the state," said Rep. Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks.

After the measure passed last fall, members of the legislature realized there were serious issues with implementing and enforcing the law, so they went to work to try and fix them.

"They forgot to decriminalize it in their measure, which basically means nobody could do anything in that measure without being subject to arrest," said House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R- Fargo.

But some say the original bill had problems as well. Democrats say they went line by line making the bill and the measure line up.

Changes include lowering the age you need a parent's permission, in addition to a medical need, from 21 to 19, changing the rules for self-growing and others.

Law makers also had to fight to allow for smokeable meds, as well.

"In the original Senate bill 2344 we didn't have a combustible product in there and that's back it there now. Has to be with a physician’s agreement or statement that that's the only form that will benefit the patient," said Senate Minority Leader Joan Heckaman, D-New Rockford.

Members of both parties say they're hopeful they're now in line with the wishes of voters.

The bill is expected to be on the Senate floor early next week before going through the House, where more amendments are possible.