Proposed bill would delay medicinal cannabis implementation in N.D.

Published: Jan. 16, 2017 at 4:32 PM CST
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Ever since Measure 5 passed in November, many patients in North Dakota have been waiting for their chance to take advantage of medicinal cannabis.

They may now have to wait a little longer.

Sheri Paulson has suffered from multiple sclerosis for 15 years.

"So I'm dealing with pain, fatigue, spasticity, and I also have digestive issues," says Paulson.

She was one of many volunteers who helped in the grassroots effort to pass Measure 5.

"I struggle day to day with my MS and my doctors just really feel this could give me a better quality of life," said Paulson.

But lawmakers say implementing a law like this takes time, so they're proposing a bill which would suspend parts of the law until July 31.

"We're going to make sure that the people that need medical marijuana, will get it in a safe form," said Senate majority leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson.

"We want to do it right. We want to make sure that the potency is right, that the proper people can distribute, the proper people can grow, that people have access to it, and all those things take time," said Senate minority leader Joan Heckaman, D-New Rockford.

Paulson was originally skeptical, but after testifying, is convinced this is a good idea.

"It's not only good for the patients, but it's also good for them, so it benefits everybody all around," said Paulson.

The Department of Health is tasked with not only monitoring potency, but also distributors and growers. A bill to help finalize some of those rules is expected in the upcoming weeks.

The one sticking point between Paulson and legislators is whether people knew exactly what they were voting for with a "yes" vote on the measure.

Legislators say people may not have known how complicated the law was, while Paulson says the volunteers were very transparent. ​