Last year in November, the voters of North Dakota surprised everyone by approving the medicinal marijuana measures for the treatment of debilitating diseases. Sixty-five-percent majority voted in the favor of marijuana as a treatment option. A series of meetings between the Senate and the House took place in order to deliberate over the issue.
However, the North Dakota House of Representativessuggested changes to the Senate bill with regards to marijuana law. The ND House loosened the restrictions imposed by the Senate and while the Human Services Committee has approved the changes, lawmakers still need to vote for the proposed modifications in favor of the amendments. The House bill needs vote of at least two-third majority in order get approved. Let’s discuss the amendments proposed by the ND House.
Physicians Do Not Need to Testify
The Senate Bill 2344 necessitated that the physician who had the authority of suggesting or prescribing treatment with marijuana needed to testify that no other forms of medical treatment will be effective for curing the disease. In contradiction, the house bill alleviates the condition of using medicinal marijuana for curing illnesses.
Medicinal Marijuana Facilities
According to the House version, the number of manufacturing facilities that needed to get registered by the state was also reduced from four to two. The total number of dispensaries is eight.
Addition of More Terminal Diseases
Crohn’s disease, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and cancer were included in the bill previously but the House version includes a list of other incapacitating conditions such as, fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, ALS, hepatitis, dementia, and epilepsy.
Reduction in the Annual Patient Fee
The ND House bill also decreased the annual patient fee for registration and patient ID cards to $50, which as per the Senate bill was equal to $200. Moreover, the House version of the marijuana bill also mentions that licensed nurses ought to be able to certify whether an afflicted individual requires medicinal marijuana or not and decide whether the treatment through cannabis will be beneficial.
Patients Can Cultivate Marijuana
According to House version of the bill, patients who are at a distance of more than 40 miles from the manufacturing facilities or dispensaries where medicinal marijuana can be obtained can cultivate a maximum of eight cannabis plant at their homes. However, certain lawmakers are not in favor of this clause. Opponents of this section claim that most individual live in the vicinity of larger cities, therefore, the likelihood of the dispensaries in the area would be low. The House bill also allows marijuana to be used in various forms in addition to smoking marijuana flower. The patients can apply tinctures or transdermal patches, ingest capsules,cannabinoid concentrates, or rub lotions or ointments. The bill, however, restricts minors from smoking cannabis.
While the bill is open for debate, for now, medicinal marijuana activists and voters can only hope that the lawmakers vote in the favor of the changes suggested by the ND House of Representatives.