Medical marijuana dispensaries chosen for Bismarck and Fargo
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Medical marijuana could be available in North Dakota’s two largest cities by the end of this year or early next year, a Health Department official said Monday as the state named companies to open dispensaries for the drug in Fargo and Bismarck.
A separate manufacturing facility in Bismarck has been registered by the state and has started growing the drug, state Medical Marijuana Division Director Jason Wahl said. Either that manufacturer or one being developed in Fargo could supply the initial two dispensaries when they come online, he said.
“We would look at product availability if not by the end of this calendar year, then early that first quarter of 2019,” Wahl said.
A review panel selected HOFB, or Harvest of Bismarck, to open a dispensary in that city, and Acreage North Dakota to operate one in Fargo. Wahl called it “another major milestone” in building a program to make the drug available to patients statewide by next summer.
Eleven applications were submitted for Fargo and eight for Bismarck. Applicants had to submit a $5,000 nonrefundable fee. The two companies were chosen based on several criteria including experience.
Acreage North Dakota’ parent company, New York City-based Acreage Holdings, has cultivation, processing and dispensing operations in 14 states, according to its website. HOFB’s parent, Arizona-based Harvest Inc., has medical marijuana licenses in seven states, according to its site.
The Health Department is accepting applications through Oct. 10 for dispensaries in Grand Forks and Williston and expects to select companies by late November. Applications will open in January for the four remaining regions — Devils Lake, Dickinson, Jamestown and Minot.
The department expects to open applications for patients and doctors in late October, with a goal of getting registration cards to those who qualify by the end of the year.
State voters approved medical marijuana in November 2016. North Dakota law allows its use for 17 medical conditions, along with terminal illnesses.
The state earlier this year selected a Florida-based company to implement a system to monitor the drug program, and a Pennsylvania-based company to perform laboratory testing. Health Department officials are working with the lab company to ensure the lab is operating in time to test marijuana before it’s sent to a dispensary, Wahl said.
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