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North Dakota House green-lights bill allowing edible medical marijuana February 20, 2021
North Dakota House green-lights bill allowing edible medical marijuana

BISMARCK -- The North Dakota House of Representatives has endorsed a bipartisan bill that would allow the state's eight medical cannabis dispensaries to sell edible products.

The lower chamber voted 63-31 on Thursday, Feb. 18, to send House Bill 1391 to the Senate. The proposal would allow more than 4,600 registered medical marijuana patients to buy lozenges containing up to 10 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol. Similar legislation narrowly failed in 2019.

Voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure legalizing medical marijuana in 2016 despite opposition from many Republican politicians. Lawmakers then reworked the policies outlined in the measure, arguing the law approved by the public was too faulty to implement.

Fargo Democratic Rep. Gretchen Dobervich, the bill's primary sponsor, said during testimony the voters always intended to allow medical marijuana edibles and some patients who need the option have been forced to make their own at home.

On the other end of the political spectrum, Republican Bismarck Rep. Rick Becker voiced support for the bill, saying it's ironic that the state is working so hard to decrease smoking but won't allow patients to take their medicine through a popular alternative method.

The main opposition to the bill came from Republicans who worried children could mistakenly eat the edibles after confusing them for candy. Jamestown Republican Rep. Bernie Satrom said his local police chief told him edibles are the biggest threat to kids in states that have legalized recreational marijuana. The bill includes a provision prohibiting the marketing of edibles aimed at minors.

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