North Dakota Moves Forward with Rules that will hold up under Federal Scrutiny
North Dakota lawmakers approved of a series of rules covering such issues as testing, security and transportation requirements in the state’s medical marijuana program.
The rules governing the state’s new MMJ program will go into effect April 1, Inforum reported on Monday.
"Without the rules, this program really cannot move forward," said Jason Wahl, Director of the Health Department's newly formedMedical Marijuana Division. "The department is committed to implementing this program as quickly as it can, but needs to ensure that this program is implemented in well-regulated manner."
An application period for MMJ manufacturers is also expected to be announced by the end of the week, soon to be followed by application periods for dispensaries, patients and caregivers, per the Bellingham Herald.
While certain states can only wish for such cannabis-connected progress, some in North Dakota wondered why it took so long.
“For people in pain, every day is a day of misery and too long to wait,” said State Rep. Mary Schneider from Fargo.
Mr. Wahl defended the time frame, pointing to dozens of pages of proposed rules that had to be reviewed along with setbacks like having to rewrite the law last year. Wahl noted that progress made by the state and his Medical Marijuana Division had gotten the stamp of approval from Americans for Safe Access.
But, let’s face it, when medical cannabis was approved in North Dakota in November 2016, no one knew what chaos and backward movement Attorney General Jeff Sessions was about to wreak on the entire weed industry.
Wahl said that North Dakota is working to devise a system that will pass any federal government scrutiny in the face of Sessions having rescinded the Obama-era Cole Memo, which essentially guarantees states’ rights and no federal involvement in MMJ operations.
“We were always cognizant of the fact that the federal government would be looking at this program very closely.”