Measure 5: N.D. voters to decide whether or not to legalize medicinal cannabis

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BISMARCK, ND - Supporters call Measure 5 the Compassionate Care Act. A "yes" majority would allow people suffering from a variety of diseases to access medical marijuana, but detractors worry it's unproven.

Mary Rennich's son Sam has suffered from seizures for 24 years.

"I think if only, if only we could try what other people have been able to try," said Rennich.

Nearly his entire life.

"We're not asking for a miracle, but we're looking for some comfort level for him," said Rennich.

The seizures have left Sam unable to walk, talk and so exhausted, he has to sleep 20 hours a day, something Rennich says medicinal cannabis may be able to ease.

"Seeing all of the pain and the agony that he has gone through and then meeting other families through the years, I see the benefits," said Rennich.

Still, skeptics say this measure is too wide reaching.

"Minnesota has a much statutory scheme that provides for input from medical providers and people who know about pharmaceuticals and that it carefully controlled. This isn't it," says Stenehjem.

Stenehjem says he feels for families, but says they should turn to more well researched pharmaceuticals.

"A patient can purchase medical marijuana from a designated care provider, a person that doesnt have to have any medical training or any pharmaceutical training. That's bad medicine," said Wayne Stenehjem, ND attorney general.

"This is our home and 25 other states are having great success with their medical cannabis programs and I think it's time for North Dakota to take that step," says Rennich.

Rennich says if Sam was well enough to move to a state with a medicinal Cannabis, she would do it in a minute. Since he's not, she'll just have to hope Measure 5 passes.

The Department of Health would regulate patients, caregivers and qualifying facilities.

If a qualifying patient lived more than 40 miles from an established dispensary, a patient would be allowed to grow up to eight plants in an enclosed, locked facility more than a 1,000 feet from a school. ​

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