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With new deadline, ND receives 19 applicants for medical marijuana growers

BISMARCK—After an extended deadline, the North Dakota Department of Health received 19 medical marijuana manufacturer applications by Monday morning, April 23.

A department official previously said they received 17 applications by Thursday afternoon, but the deadline was pushed back after a mistake was discovered in the application instructions. Hours after the new deadline passed, an application review panel met at the state Capitol.

The seven-member panel will score the applicants based on criteria like location, operational plans and security measures. Jason Wahl, the director of the Health Department's medical marijuana division, expects the panel to finalize their scores around the time of its next meeting, which could be in mid-May.

"The department will then add up all the scores to get that total score for each of the applications," he said.

The applicants had to pay a nonrefundable $5,000 fee. Their names are confidential under state law.

State law allows for up to two manufacturing facilities and eight dispensaries, although the department could add more to increase access. Wahl previously said applications would open for dispensaries after the growers have been selected.

State legislators last year rewrote the medical marijuana law voters passed in 2016. Wahl has said medical marijuana could be available to patients late this year.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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