At a Glance

  • North Dakota voted 53% for medical cannabis
  • Qualifying patients 40 miles from a compassion center can grow their own
  • 17 qualifying conditions

Eight different states (Nevada, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, and Florida) voted yes on various cannabis measures across the country, with only Arizona voting no. Joining the ranks of medical marijuana winners in the past election, North Dakota (known as the Peace Garden State) voted yes. North Dakota’s Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, Compassionate Care Act, or Measure 5, was supported by North Dakota Compassionate Care and North Dakota for Medical Marijuana, and the Marijuana Policy Project along with a few private citizens passed in the November 8 election. The measure legalized medical marijuana for patients of certain diseases and disorders, and began the process of regulating medical marijuana for dispensing, growing, and consumption.



North Dakota’s Medical Marijuana Laws

In 2012 a similar measure was presented, but it was found to have thousands of fake signatures. 2016’s Measure 5 passed with 63.79% of the vote, and will go into effect as of December 8, 2016. North Dakota intends to use the requisite identification cards for patients and designated caregivers to qualify them for participation in the new program. Under the new laws, caregivers could treat up to five qualified patients, including themselves. Criminal history screening is required for all caregivers, and those convicted of a felony will not be approved in North Dakota. Qualified patients in the Flickertail state could buy up to three ounces of cannabis, and grow plants if a home is 40 miles or more from a dispensary. North Dakota is hoping to obtain $6 million in revenue during its first year.

North Dakota’s Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana

Medical cannabis patients in North Dakota can obtain a doctor’s prescription for the following diseases and disorders: cancer and its treatments, positive HIV status, AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Alzheimer’s-associated agitation, dementia, or treatment of these conditions; Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis, chronic back pain, neuropathy, nervous tissue damage in the spine, intractable spasticity, glaucoma, and epilepsy. Also included are any conditions that produce cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe debilitating pain that has not responded to previously prescribed medication or surgical measures for more than three months or for which other treatment options produced serious side effects; intractable nausea; seizures; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristic of multiple sclerosis. North Dakotan veterans and others who suffer with intractable or chronic pain will definitely be helped with the passing of this new cannabis measure, and hopefully recreational cannabis legalization will follow.

States that May Legalize Cannabis Soon

Although it did not vote on medical cannabis in the 2016 elections, the Show-Me State may be voting on the Missouri Right to Farm Cannabis Initiative, which would amend the 2014 Right-to-Farm Amendment, protecting cannabis and help growing in that state. The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, or State Question 788, will also be on the November 2018 ballot. Question 788 would legalize licensed medical cannabis consumption, grows, and possession in that state. The legal medical cannabis age in Oklahoma would be 18, as opposed to 21 in many states. Patients could have up to six mature plants and six seedlings at one time, up to one ounce of concentrated cannabis, up to 72 ounces of edible cannabis, and up to 8 ounces of cannabis. Let’s hope that there are even more medical and recreational cannabis measures on United States’ ballot in two years.