Local input on proposed rules for the state’s medical marijuana program will be collected Monday at a public hearing in Williston. 

The meeting, led by members of the North Dakota Department of Health, is one of six planned across the state next week. It will be at 2 p.m. at the Williston ARC. 

All are welcome, organizers say, although attendees should know that the meeting’s sole purpose is to solicit input on the medical marijuana program. 

“The Department of Health won’t be answering questions during the comment period,” Jason Wahl, interim director of the state’s division of medical marijuana, said, adding that officials “encourage and welcome the comments.”

Teams from the health department are compiling oral and written public comments on the proposed rules from now through Dec. 26, and will review and respond to them before submitting recommendations to legislative council early next year, Wahl said. 

Caregivers, patients, prospective dispensary operators and others, along with the general public, are among those whose say is being solicited. 

“As we continue to move forward in the process, transparency and diligence is important, and these hearings allow for transparency and input on the proposed rules,” Wahl said.  

People unable to attend the meetings, which are also are scheduled this week in Belcourt, Minot, Bismarck, Fargo and Grand Forks, can email or mail written statements. 

“After the department has an opportunity to fully consider the comments received, we’ll provide information to the office of the

Attorney General for their

 consideration and their legal review,” Wahl said.

That information must be sent to the legislative council by Feb. 1 in order to get it on the agenda for the March 14 Legislative Rules Committee meeting. If the committee approves the rules, they will likely be effective by April 1, officials say. 

Last month, the Williams County Commission voted to direct the county’s planning and zoning division to select zoning districts where marijuana dispensaries and manufacturing sites could be allowed. 

The board also voted to work alongside Williston officials when creating regulations overseeing the sale and growth of medical marijuana. 

A measure approving the sale and growth of medical marijuana in the state passed with more than 60 percent of the vote in last year’s general election. The program’s current standards allow two growing sites and eight dispensaries in North Dakota, but it will probably be about a year until medical marijuana is available to patients, officials have said. 

The health department’s proposed rules on medical marijuana are at www.ndhealth.gov/MM/. To obtain a copy, email med marijuana@nd.gov, or call 701-328-1311. 

Written comments should be emailed to medmarijuana@nd.gov, or mailed to the Department of Health, Division of Medical Marijuana, 600 E. Boulevard Ave., Dept. 301, Bismarck, ND 58505-0200.

 

If you go ...

What: Medical marijuana panel

When: 2 p.m. Monday

Where: The Williston ARC

More information is available at www.ndhealth.gov/MM

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