After two years, eight months and five days — plus a few unexpected hours at the very end — medical marijuana has come to Williston.
On Friday, July 12, Harvest of Williston, which was named the dispensary for the region on November, opened its doors to patients. It took a few hours longer than expected, as last-minute issues had to be dealt with, but Ben Taylor, the new store opener for Harvest Health & Recreational Inc., said it felt good to finally be open.
“It’s been a hectic day, but we are really excited that we finally get to open the doors,” Taylor said.
The dispensary, located in a shopping center on 26th Street East, is unassuming, with a bright yellow sign and heavily tinted windows. By shortly after 2 p.m. on Friday, the store had been open for less than an hour but already had a lobby full of patients.
Taylor travels to new locations around the country and helps make sure the dispensaries follow state law and corporate policy. He takes the new staff members through multiple courses of training, both off site and in the location itself.
They hear from the company’s medical director, as well as learn about the state regulations they’ll have to follow. While it took nearly three years for dispensaries to start opening in North Dakota, Taylor said he has been impressed with the regulations the state has come up with.
“I think the state has really thought a lot about it,” he said.
Patients have to be buzzed in the front door, and they have to present their medical marijuana card and a valid state ID. From there, staff checks if the patient is eligible to buy anything — part of the recommendation from a physician includes a rolling 30-day limit on the amount of products a patient can buy.
From there, patients can either choose what they’d like to buy or consult with a staff member for recommendations. Taylor said the dispensary stocks about 100 different products, which can make choosing the right one intimidating.
The process from application to opening has been a long one. Alex Howe, head of corporate communication for Harvest, said the company has worked closely with Jason Wahl, the head of the North Dakota Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Division.
Howe said Wahl had been responsive and a good partner during the months of preparation.
“We’re very excited to finally have this day come,” Howe said.
As part of a three-day series of events, the Williston Downtowners Association put on Crazy Days on Friday, July 12.
The event closes Main Street and part of adjoining streets in downtown Williston and creates a street-fair like atmosphere where businesses can offer deals to passersby as they walk through town.
The 2015 downturn didn’t break the Bakken. It made it, in part by forcing companies to get more efficient.
Oil prices have since improved and activity has picked up. But the drive for new efficiencies continues, and technology is helping make it happen. Optical sensors mounted on drones are now finding methane leaks from the air, while artificial intelligence devices are helping optimize rod pump functions.
That’s just two of the appetizing tidbits coming to the nation’s No. 2 shale play, and they are among the many cutting edge innovations that will be discussed during the annual Bakken Conference and Expo, set for July 16 and 17 at the Bismarck Event Center in Bismarck.
The Williston Herald will provide full coverage of the event sponsored by North American Shale Magazine, which will feature more than 30 speakers and insights from oilfield executives with companies like Hess, Baker Hughes, XTO, Whiting, Schlumberger, and more.
Keynoting the event will be Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, talking about the state of the Bakken. Sanford’s keynote will be followed by a panel discussion that includes Marathon Oil and Oasis Petroleum, and others discussing industry-led efforts to solve some of the big problems in the Bakken.
Skyskopes, meanwhile, will talk about its work with drones in the Bakken. The company was recently recognized nationally as among the top five drone companies in the U.S., based on its successes in the Oil Patch.
Ambyint’s Director of Optimization, Brian Arnst, will talk about its work with artificial intelligence in the Oil Field for Equinor, and Crusoe Energy’s Cully Cavness will talk about its mobile, modular data centers that can be placed at or near well sites to be powered by gas that might otherwise be flared.
That’s just a few of the many topics on tap at the Bakken Conference and Expo, which operating producers, active drilling companies and completion companies may attend free of charge. Others pay a fee of $645, although there are discounts for various groups such as students and government officials. One-day admission is also available for $399.
Other topics during the two-day event include Blockchain technology and the shale field, resource recovery and reuse options for Bakken water and sand, changing regulations and their impact on the Bakken, what investors need to know about investing in the Bakken, and more.
Looking for a special four-legged friend to keep company? Finding that fur-ever friend might be as easy as a walk in the park.
For the third year, the Mondak Animal Rescue is helping people find friends, and pets find homes with their annual Bark in the Park adoption event. The event takes place on Wednesday, July 17 from 5:30 to 8 p.m., and has something the entire family can enjoy. The yearly event not only helps find homes for numerous cats and dogs in the shelter’s care, but also serves as a fundraiser to help keep the facility running and the animals healthy, happy and secure.
“This is a big one for us,” Rooks told the Williston Herald. “Everything that we do, like these outdoors events, all that money goes back into the operation of making sure that these dogs and cats have everything that they need.”
Last year, the facility brought 13 animals to the event, with all 10 dogs and three cats getting adopted. Shelter Manager Tamara Rooks said there are currently 76 animals ready for adoption at the center, and many of them will be traveling to the park for the event. The facility made over $3,000 last year, providing food and care for its occupants.
There will be a free-will community barbecue beginning at 5:30 p.m., serving up hamburgers and hotdogs until the food runs out. Hometown Concessions will also be on-hand, selling kettle corn, popcorn, smoothies and mini donuts. Inflatables will be available for kids to enjoy, and mom and dad can enjoy the craft and vendor show.
Rooks said the event is an important way to get the community involved and highlight the need for pet adoption in the area, but also a fun way to get the animals some fresh air.
“I think it’s important not only for us to be able to give back to the community, but for the community to see us out there, too.” She explained. “And it’s nice for the dogs to get out and see people, socialize and just be outside and have fun. Who doesn’t love the park?”
For more information on the Mondak Animal Rescue, including how to adopt a pet, visit www.mondakanimalrescue.org
A 28-year-old woman injured in a Thursday afternoon, July 11, crash has died, the North Dakota Highway Patrol announced Friday.
Laquinta Cooper was a passenger in a 2009 Hyundai SUV when it collided with a 2016 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup near the intersection of U.S. Highway 2 and 58th Street NW, the Highway Patrol wrote in a news release.
Richard Minton, 30, the driver of the Hyundai, along with two boys, ages 5 and 8, received minor injuries and were taken to CHI St. Alexius. The driver of the Dodge, 18-year-old Derian Sim, was not injured. According to the North Dakota Highway Patrol the crash happened when Minton was driving the Hyundai north on Highway 2 around 1:30 p.m., when Sim attempted to turn left across traffic. The Hyundai collided with the front driver’s side of the Dodge, causing both vehicles to spin.
The Highway Patrol charged Sims with failure to yield at an intersection with a stop sign.
A GoFundMe has been set up to raise money to return Cooper to her home state for burial at https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-to-get-my-loved-ones-home.