The department is seeking applications for dispensaries in the Jamestown, Devils Lake, Dickinson and Minot areas this month and could issue permits in about four weeks.
Permits have already been issued for two grow facilities and dispensary facilities in Bismarck, Mandan, Fargo, Grand Forks and Williston. Dispensaries in those areas could open sometime in February, Wald said.
Applications are also being accepted from individuals seeking approval to use medical marijuana. The application process requires the potential user to fill out identifying information and include a photograph. The patient’s doctor then fills out a statement that he or she has cared for the patient in the past and anticipates providing care in the future. A doctor also must certify the patient would likely benefit from medical marijuana. The North Dakota Health Department reviews all the information and, if it approves, issues a card allowing the patient to purchase medical marijuana at any licensed dispensary in the state.
“Some individuals have been able to submit the completed form,” Wald said, referring to potential medical marijuana users who have been able to provide the necessary information, including a statement from their medical provider. About 60 people have been approved for the program since it opened at the end of October, he said
But there are some potential users of medical marijuana who say doctors have been impossible to persuade to write the documentation necessary for the state to issue a registry card allowing them to acquire medical marijuana.
Rick Weir, a Jamestown resident suffering from chronic back pain, said he has tried unsuccessfully to get a doctor to file the written certificate of need with the North Dakota Department of Health.
“Nobody is willing to step outside the box and prescribe cannabis,” Weir said. “That’s a big problem for those looking for help. This is not about