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City hears state medical marijuana policies

Medical marijuana is coming to North Dakota. Dickinson has been named one of eight 50-mile dispensary regions in North Dakota, and the policies for distribution of medical marijuana are being made clear. Jason Wahl, North Dakota Department of Hea...

Jason Wahl, ND Dept. of Health Medical Marijuana Division, spoke to Dickinson City Commissioners Tuesday about the implementation of the state program, including state policies regarding the still illegal drug, and procedures for registering for a state ID card. Dickinson was named as one of eight state regional sites for a dispensary. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)
Jason Wahl, ND Dept. of Health Medical Marijuana Division, spoke to Dickinson City Commissioners Tuesday about the implementation of the state program, including state policies regarding the still illegal drug, and procedures for registering for a state ID card. Dickinson was named as one of eight state regional sites for a dispensary. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)

Medical marijuana is coming to North Dakota.

Dickinson has been named one of eight 50-mile dispensary regions in North Dakota, and the policies for distribution of medical marijuana are being made clear.

Jason Wahl, North Dakota Department of Health, Medical Marijuana Division, informed Dickinson city commissioners Tuesday about the steps being taken to implement the program.

The measure was approved November 2016 and signed into law by Gov. Doug Burgum in April 2017.

The application period is currently open for two marijuana manufacturing facilities, with the application period for dispensaries to open afterward.

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"We would then begin accepting applications from potential qualifying patients and designated caregivers," Wahl said.

North Dakota registry identification cards will be issued for patients and caregivers, with an application fee, annual renewal and criminal history check.

"They are not allowed to have a registry identification card ... if they have a felony conviction or a misdemeanor drug-related conviction within the last five years of the date of their application," Wahl said.

Patients must have a qualifying medical condition, defined by the state, and must also have a "bona-fide provider-patient relationship" with their doctor.

"That relationship cannot be for the sole purpose of providing a written certification for the medical use of marijuana," Wahl said.

Wahl warned that while the state is required to implement a medical marijuana program, marijuana is still illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act, which "has not been modified or changed" for medical marijuana.

Qualifying patients can visit any dispensary in the state, but the dispensaries will only recognized North Dakota registered patients from North Dakota licensed doctors.

"Where a dispensary is to be located in that region is yet to be determined," Wahl said.

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There are zoning requirements for dispensaries. For example, a dispensary cannot be within 1,000 feet of a pre-existing public or private school.

Minors, defined as anyone under age 19, Wahl said, will not be allowed to enter dispensaries or use certain "usable marijuana" products.

"Minors will not do the purchasing or possessing of these products," Wahl said. "They will need to have a registered, designated caregiver who will purchase the usable marijuana on their behalf and also provide it to them or administer the product."

NDDOH will use a hybrid application system where the patient can complete the registration application online but can only pay with check or money order.

"State law for this program doesn't allow credit cards," Wahl explained.

More information can be found at www.ndhealth.gov/mm .

In other business:

Mayor Scott Decker informed city commissioners about his participation in the March 14-16 meeting of the Theodore Roosevelt Library Foundation board, held in Minneapolis.

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"I reinforced our commitment to the project and that our dollars are going to stay in Dickinson," Decker said.

The presidential digital library, based at Dickinson State University, will remain in the city.

"It's very aggressive," Decker said. "(The foundation) has to start construction by the end of this year at least on a $14 million building."

He added, "I think this is going to be a great asset to Dickinson."

The replica Elkhorn Cabin will remain in Dickinson. A location has yet to be determined.

"They don't want that to hamper the actual library," Decker said. "That library is first and foremost to go up."

City commissioners also approved a bid for a "virtual judgmental use of force and weapons training system" for Dickinson Police Department.

One bid was received for the project at $226,292.19 from VirTra Inc. of Tempe, Ariz.

"The proposal from VirTra meets the project objective, project scope and specifications," Chief Dustin Dassinger said.

Dassinger said the simulator will be ready in roughly 60 days from the point of order.

"Our room is ready for it," he said. "The room is carpeted, painted, ceiling is done. It's just a matter of ordering it and having the installers come out and install it and train us on it."

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