ND Officials Say Medical Marijuana Will Decrease If Marijuana Is Legalized

ND Officials Say Medical Marijuana Will Decrease If Marijuana Is Legalized

Legalizing recreational marijuana in North Dakota could cut the number of people registered to use the drug as a medicine by at least 80% due to access to more and more diverse products, a health official said last week.

Supporters of recreational marijuana legalization in North Dakota last month managed to get the issue to a public vote in November, submitting more than 15,582 valid petition signatures to put it on the ballot.

Since North Dakota voters approved medical marijuana in 2016, the state has issued more than 8,200 ID cards to eligible patients.

The medical forms of marijuana approved in North Dakota are dried leaves and flowers, concentrates, tinctures, capsules, topicals, and transdermal patches. Medicine pot pharmacies are located in Fargo, Bismarck, Devils Lake, Fargo, Jamestown, Grand Forks, Minot, and Williston. The edibles were part of the original initiative, but the state legislature removed them from the list for fear they could fall into the hands of children.

The initiative, up for a vote in November, will allow people aged 21 and over to legally use marijuana at home, and to store and grow a limited amount of cannabis. The state can register up to seven marijuana businesses and 18 pharmacies. Edible products will be allowed.

Jason Wahl, director of medical marijuana, said thousands of patients with medical marijuana cards are likely to choose to buy from recreational sources if the measure is approved.

For example, medical marijuana users can only buy 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower for 30 days. If approved by voters, recreational marijuana users could potentially — illegally — buy at least that amount per day, as “none of it is tracked,” Wahl said.

Medical pot is taxed at the 5% sales tax rate plus local taxes. Recreational marijuana would be taxed at the same rate.

On Monday, Wahl told the legislative panel that North Dakota could expect $1.3 million in revenue in the next two-year budget cycle from filing fees and registration fees from manufacturing plants and dispensaries to cover government oversight costs.

Wahl said the state tax office did not calculate the amount that could be made from the sale of recreational marijuana because the value of the product and the level of sales are currently unknown.

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

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