First Medical Cannabis Dispensary Opens In North Dakota This Week

First Medical Cannabis Dispensary Opens In North Dakota This Week

After two years of waiting, medical marijuana patients in North Dakota’s largest city will finally have safe, reliable access to medication. The very first medical cannabis dispensary in the Roughrider State is opening in Fargo on February 28, 2019.

Voters in North Dakota approved Measure 5, legalizing the use of medical cannabis as well as a retail market for the medication, in November 2016. Only 120 medical marijuana cards have been issued to patients at this time. This number is expected to increase to 4,000 by 2021.

According to Jason Wahl of the state’s Medical Marijuana Division, only a final security inspection must be passed before the first dispensary, called The Botanist, will be fully approved to open.

The Botanist in Fargo will be located at 4302 13th Ave. S. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays, The Botanist will be open Wednesday through Friday from 10 am to 7 pm, 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday, and 12 pm to 6 pm on Sunday.

More than just approved forms of medical cannabis, The Botanist in Fargo is expected to feature a live botanical wall and an area dedicated to education for patients to explore.

Acreage Holdings

The Botanist is owned and operated by Acreage Holdings, a company based out of New York. Acreage Holdings was awarded two North Dakota dispensary licenses in September of 2018. The Fargo location is the only one with a scheduled open date at this time.

Pure Dakota Cannabis

Only one producer, Pure Dakota, is reported to have finished product ready to be sold at this time, so all of the cannabis available to patients shopping at The Botanist in Fargo this week will have been produced by Pure Dakota.

Pure Dakota, located in Bismarck, was first to be awarded a cultivation license in North Dakota. The company cultivates the maximum number of plants permitted by law, which is only 1,000, in a 20,000 square-foot space.

The Botanist Locations

Acreage Holdings, the parent company of The Botanist, operates multiple dispensaries in several different states. Currently, The Botanist dispensaries are operating in:

  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Buffalo, New York
  • Middletown, New York
  • Queens, New York
  • Worcester, Massachusetts

The Botanist will be opening soon in the following locations:

  • Leominster, Massachusetts
  • Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
  • Farmingdale, New York
  • Fargo, North Dakota

Image Courtesy of The Botanist

North Dakota Marijuana Legalization Measure Winning In Latest Poll

North Dakota Marijuana Legalization Measure Winning In Latest Poll

North Dakota voters appear poised to legalize marijuana via a ballot measure next month, according to a new poll.

Measure 3, which would legalize cannabis for adults 21 and over in one of the country’s most conservative states—and with no possession limits—is ahead among likely voters by a margin of 51 percent to 36 percent in the survey released on Sunday.

North Dakota has brought marijuana policy reform supporters pleasant surprises before. Medical cannabis was approved there by an overwhelming majority of voters in 2016, for example, and will be available to patients sometime in 2019.

And despite little pro-legalization funding and relatively large spending in opposition to the ballot measure—a flip of the usual paradigm seen in most other states with cannabis initiatives—libertarian-leaning and younger voters on the prairie appear to be pushing Measure 3 towards a slim victory.

The results sharply contrast to those of another poll released earlier this month, which found the marijuana measure losing, 59 percent to 30 percent.

And although legalization support was significantly larger than opposition in the new survey, 13 percent of the 412 respondents say they are still undecided, leaving the issue very much in balance in the lead up to Election Day.

Nonetheless, legalization advocates are pleased with the new polling result.

“Despite a big-money funded misinformation campaign from the opposition, this poll reveals that most North Dakotans are ready to end the failed prohibition of marijuana in the state,” NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said in a press release. “By voting ‘Yes’ on Measure 3, North Dakotans could save the state millions of taxpayer dollars currently being spent on arresting otherwise law-abiding adults for possession of a plant that is objectively less harmful than legal alcohol and tobacco, allow law enforcement to allocate their limited resources to focus on violent crime, and defend individual freedom.”

But activists know that the opposition has more money, and aren’t taking anything for granted over the next few weeks.

“The message of ending marijuana arrests is resounding in North Dakota, and these results demonstrate that voters are hearing our call for action. This is a dogfight, and LegalizeND will continue to set the record straight when it comes to adult-use marijuana,” Cole Haymond, a campaign advisory for Legalize ND, said.

Consistent with other states where medical marijuana has become legal, the measure performed best with voters under 50 in the new poll. Fifty-seven percent of respondents were 50 or older, suggesting that if younger voters turn out on Election Day, the measure may stand an even better chance of success.

“Passage of Measure 3 is greatly dependent upon the voters under the age of 50 voting in at least their historical percentages,” reads a polling memo by The Kitchens Group, which conducted the survey. “If the electorate is skewed toward the older, more conservative voters, passage could be problematic.”

But Measure 3 is being sold to voters on a personal responsibility platform, with emphasis on harsher penalties for sales to minors—and on marijuana’s proven ability to alleviate opiate-related overdoses and deaths.

When these aspects of the ballot measure were mentioned to poll respondents, support increased by the end of the eight-question survey.

Both before and after the push-polling, the percentage of voters who said they would “definitely” vote no stayed at a consistent 29 percent, suggesting that North Dakota has only a hardcore minority of prohibition-minded voters, with many more undecideds and pro-legalization voters.

The ballot measure is very far-reaching compared to those proposed in other states. It would allow possession, cultivation and sales of marijuana, with no set limits, though lawmakers would almost certainly enact regulations in the event of the measure’s passage. It would also expunge prior cannabis convictions.

The poll was conducted between October 11 and 14, and has a margin of error or +/- 4.9 percentage points.

Voters in seven states will consider marijuana ballot measures on Election Day this year.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Measure 3 legalized only small amounts of marijuana. The text of Measure 3 legalizes marijuana for adults 21 and over with no possession limits. This article has been updated.

North Dakota’s Marijuana Legalization Supporters Outraised By Opponents, Filings Show

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

North Dakota Marijuana Legalization Measure Winning In Latest Poll

North Dakota’s Marijuana Legalization Supporters Outraised By Opponents, Filings Show

North Dakota’s Marijuana Legalization Supporters Outraised By Opponents, Filings Show

Despite growing interest in North Dakota’s marijuana legalization ballot measure among the state’s voters, it is groups and individuals from outside the state who are driving much of the funding on either side of the debate heading up to Election Day. And newly filed campaign finance reports show that opponents have far more resources on hand than do supporters of ending cannabis prohibition.

Measure 3, Marijuana Legalization and Automatic Expungement Initiative, would legally allow the recreational use of marijuana for people 21 years of age or older, including but not limited to “growing, manufacturing, distributing, selling or testing of marijuana.” It would also create an automatic process to expunge the criminal records of “individuals with convictions for a controlled substance that has been legalized.” The proposal was certified for the ballot in August, with advocates having collected 1,100 more valid signatures than the 13,452 required to place it before voters.

Two campaign committees have formed to support the legalization initiative.

LegalizeND registered with the North Dakota Secretary of State’s office on August 13, and Legalize North Dakota on September 5. The latter organization’s recently filed campaign finance report indicates that it has $1,600 on hand, but does not indicate where the money came from.

LegalizeND’s reports give a clearer picture. The group has received $9,457 in cash and $14,100 in in-kind donations. Over half of the cash ($5,652) came from donations of under $100.

The largest cash donation ($1,065) came from an individual in Minnesota. Two former North Dakota Libertarian candidates, Marty Riske and Eric Olson, donated $3,350 and $2,000 in-kind, respectively.

National legalization organization NORML has donated $2,538 worth of in-kind services and materials, and celebrity chef-turned-marijuana-activist Rick Steves is reported as providing $5,803 as an in-kind donation, as part of his visit to North Dakota last week to drum up support for the initiative.

Meanwhile, on the anti-legalization side, 100 percent of reported contributions to Healthy and Productive North Dakota (HAPND) have come from a single source: national anti-marijuana lobbying group Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), based in Alexandria, Virginia. Resources on the group’s website also point to documents created by SAM. HAPND, which registered September 27, submitted reports showing a total of $156,234 from SAM, with $100,156 of that as in-kind services or resources.

SAM emphasized its efforts in the state in a fundraising email on October 9, which stated:

“Chief of Staff, Luke Niforatos, and our Marijuana Accountability Coalition coordinator, Justin Luke Riley, kicked off our formal campaign – Healthy and Productive North Dakota – and we launched a series of billboards and social media ads in key North Dakota markets… The marijuana industry is going all-in for the states in which it is working to legalize. They are salivating at the opportunity to expand their profit-driven scheme in a new state.”

Business groups from within North Dakota formed a separate anti-measure committee, North Dakotans Against the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana (NDALRM). The group, which registered on September 4, is managed by Matt Gardner, the director of government affairs for the Greater North Dakota Chamber.

The Chamber itself is the biggest donor to NDALRM, thus far committing $30,000. The North Dakota Retail Association and Associated General Contractors of North Dakota have each put in $10,000. Sporting goods chain Scheels has donated $8,500, and its CEO Steve Scheel personally contributed $10,000. Oil man Fred Evans put in $10,000 as has the North Dakota Petroleum Council. The North Dakota Motor Carriers Association ponied up $5,000, and North Dakota Beer Wholesalers contributed $2,500. And State Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (R) chipped in $1,000.

In total, NDALRM has raised $116,200 in cash, including $2,250 in donations under $100 each. In its October 5 report, the group reported spending only $38,490 thus far. LegalizeND meanwhile reported that it had spent all but $25 of its cash as of October 5, and hasn’t reported any cash donations of over $500 since then. That means it’s likely North Dakota voters will be seeing a lot more anti-Measure 3 advertisements and other materials than paid communications supporting legalization in the remaining weeks before they head to the polls.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

North Dakota’s Marijuana Legalization Supporters Outraised By Opponents, Filings Show

North Dakota Likely To Vote On Marijuana Legalization In November

North Dakota Likely To Vote On Marijuana Legalization In November

A petition to fully legalize marijuana in North Dakota appears to be heading to the November ballot, an election official at the secretary of state’s office indicated to Marijuana Moment on Tuesday.

The office is currently wrapping up the signature verification process, which involves sending a couple thousand postcards to randomly selected signees to confirm information they included when signing ballot petitions. If the postcards come back with inconsistencies, “we look into things further,” the official said in a phone interview. 

“As of right now, what’s come back in, there’s nothing that casts a red flag anywhere.” 

The group behind the recreational cannabis petition, LegalizeND, submitted about 18,700 signatures to the Secretary of State office last month—far exceeding the 13,452 signatures required to qualify for the ballot.

The deadline to verify the signatures and officially secure the initiative’s placement on the November ballot is Monday, August 13. The official said an announcement would likely come after the final batch of mail is delivered to the secretary of state’s office that day.

What’s in the legalization initiative?

That North Dakota, a decidedly red state, could become the next to fully legalize marijuana at the state-level has taken some observers by surprise. But perhaps even more surprising is the wide ranging nature of the initiative itself.

Unlike other states that have legalized for adult use, this initiative would not place restrictions on things like the number of plants a person over 21 can grow or how much cannabis they can possess. All forms of marijuana—including flower, concentrates, hash and oils—would be permitted.

The measure would also create a pathway for the expungement of criminal records for past marijuana-related offenses. You can read the full text of the initiative here.

If the signatures on the petition are verified on Monday, the vote in November may be tight. A June 2018 poll commissioned by LegalizeND found that 49 percent of North Dakota voters approve of marijuana legalization, 39 percent disapprove and 15 percent remain undecided. The most compelling argument in support of legalization to voters in the state is that “it will benefit agriculture in North Dakota,” the survey found.

The recreational cannabis legalization initiative would represent a fairly significant departure from the state’s current medical marijuana system, which was approved by voters in 2016. The existing program prohibits home cultivation, allows qualifying patients to possess up to three ounces of cannabis and caps the number of licensed dispensaries at eight.

North Dakota isn’t the only historically right-leaning state to move in the direction of cannabis reform in 2018. Three medical marijuana initiatives officially qualified for the November ballot in Missouri last week. And Oklahoma voters approved a medical marijuana legalization initiative in June.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

North Dakota Likely To Vote On Marijuana Legalization In November

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