Heavy interest in North Dakota medical marijuana network

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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- Nearly 100 groups and businesses in North Dakota have shown interest in either producing or dispensing medical marijuana.

That pleases state officials who are establishing a network for making the drug available to qualified patients by next summer.

The Health Department in June asked those interested in being a part of the system to notify the agency by the end of the month so it could gauge interest. The request drew 97 nonbinding letters of intent.

Medical Marijuana Division Director Kenan Bullinger says that exceeded expectations.

North Dakota voters last November approved medical marijuana, and the Legislature earlier this year crafted regulations. The Health Department is finishing the process of drafting administrative rules, and then it will start accepting formal applications from potential processors and distributers.

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