North Dakota Cannabis Business Licenses
WHAT IS NORTH DAKOTA'S CURRENT CANNABIS MARKET STATUS?
Content Below Last Updated by Point7 04/10/2022
North Dakota proposed a bill to legalize cannabis for adult-use in early 2021. The initiative was led by legislators who actually opposed legalization, however they wanted to enact a rigorous cannabis bill themselves before cannabis advocates could initiate anything in the 2022 session. Although the cannabis bill was passed in the house, it was quickly defeated in the Senate. Legislatures attempted to pass an additional bill in early 2022, and unfortunately that bill did not pass as well.
WHAT ARE NORTH DAKOTA'S CURRENT CANNABIS LAWS?
Cannabis is legal for medical use but illegal for recreational use in North Dakota.
On April 17, 2017, Gov. Doug Bergum signed the revised medical cannabis program into law. The department has since licensed two compassionate care centers to cultivate a limited amount of medical cannabis and eight compassionate care centers to dispense it to registered patients. Cannabis flower is permitted, but doctors must specifically certify patients to use this form of cannabis. Patches, tinctures, topicals, and capsules are also allowed, but edibles and concentrates are not permitted for commercial sale.
In 2019 Gov. Bergum signed HB 1050 to eliminate the threat of jail time for adults over the age of 21 that possesses up to a half ounce of cannabis; however a fine up to $1,000 still exists.
WHAT IS NORTH DAKOTA'S CANNABIS LICENSING TIMELINE & CANNABIS APPLICATION PROCESS?
North Dakota does not have an open application process or a clear timeline for future licensing applications. Sign up for our weekly newsletter to stay in the loop for updates!
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF CANNABIS IN NORTH DAKOTA?
In 2015, the state legislature attempted to create and pass a framework for medical marijuana production and sale with House Bill 1430. Without much public support in the state, it was voted down at 26-67 in February 2015. Following the bill's failure, Fargo resident Rilie Ray Morgan began the process of preparing a ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana for the 2016 general election. His attempts worked and in 2016, North Dakota voters approved Measure 5, effectively creating a comprehensive and compassionate medical cannabis program for North Dakota.
In 2017, both houses of the North Dakota legislature passed amendments to Measure 5. Most notably removing the ability for medical users to grow their own marijuana at home if they can not reasonably reach a dispensary. The changes also required that a medical professional specifically recommend smoking as a method of using marijuana in some cases.
In July 2018, the North Dakota Department of Health opened an application window for medical cannabis dispensary licenses and has subsequently licensed both cultivators and dispensaries to run the state’s program.
The fight for North Dakota’s access to an adult-use cannabis market has been severely impacted by COVID and the resulting economic shut-down. An advocacy group, Legalize ND, was working to collect 13,452 signatures before July 6, 2020 to put a statutory initiative to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana before the voters in November, but the campaign was unfortunately unable to qualify due to signature gathering challenges impacted by the pandemic. The newly formed and newly launched medical marijuana industry in North Dakota has also been impacted by the pandemic. A dispensary in Fargo, North Dakota (the largest city in the state) had to shut down temporarily in April 2020 due to cited sluggish sales and regulatory delays affecting their ability to maintain operations.
Legislature has been attempted in 2021 and 2022 to legalize recreational cannabis, but unfortunately has not passed the Senate floor. Activists are still pushing for cannabis legislation and pledge to move forward with ballot initiatives 2023.
DOES NORTH DAKOTA HAVE A HEMP PROGRAM?
North Dakota has legalized the production of hemp and sale of hemp-derived CBD products. Under current North Dakota law, anyone interested in growing industrial hemp needs to apply for a license issued by the Department of Agriculture and pay all related licensing fees. Any person with a license can grow or process industrial hemp for commercial purposes or research. All hemp licensing applications are approved by the commissioner at the North Dakota Department of Agriculture. The current application process requires an extensive application process and higher fees than many other states.
The state hemp bill, House Bill 1438, was signed into law in 2015 and amended the existing law by removing the requirement that state-licensed hemp growers must also be federally licensed by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The state is still operating under this temporary pilot program while they align with federal 2018 Farm Bill stipulations.
PREPARING FOR THE NORTH DAKOTA CANNABIS MARKET
We are ready to support your team as you prepare for cannabis licensure in North Dakota. Contact Point7 to discuss the fully customizable products and service packages available that have proved successful for operators around the country.