Medical Marijuana in North Dakota

Medical marijuana is legal in North Dakota but recreational use remains illegal. Hemp can also be cultivated in North Dakota however, it may be a matter of time before the legislation changes. After failed attempts in 2015, a medical cannabis program was finally established in 2016 for the state.

Yet, North Dakotans have been patiently waiting for over a year for their medical marijuana to become available. Here we’ll be taking you through a comprehensive overview of medical marijuana in North Dakota, showing you who qualifies, the law, and looking at when patients may finally see cannabis dispensaries open their door.

Marijuana Law

Possession of less than half an ounce of non-medicinal marijuana or carrying marijuana half an ounce of medicinal marijuana without an approved condition is seen as a Class B misdemeanor. It is accompanied by $1,000 maximum fine and can also have a sentence of up to 30 days in prison.

overview of medical marijuana in North Dakota

If you are found to be in possession of less than half an ounce, or under the influence of cannabis while operating a motor vehicle, this is seen as a Class A misdemeanor. The maximum fine is also $1,000, but the maximum prison term extends to one year. Possession of half an ounce to one ounce of cannabis is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. It also carries a maximum fine of $1,000 and a maximum prison term of one year.

Qualifying Medical Conditions

The qualifying medical conditions for medicinal cannabis are quite similar to those of other states. Almost all conditions causing severe or chronic pain are covered. Here’s a full list of all qualifying conditions.

  • Cancer
  • HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus)
  • AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome)
  • ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
  • PTSD (Posttraumatic stress disorder)
  • Alzheimer’s Disease and agitation of Alzheimer’s
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic back pain
  • Neuropathy
  • Nervous tissue damage
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Glaucoma
  • Epilepsy
  • All terminal illnesses
  • Cachexia
  • Intractable nausea
  • Seizures
  • Severe or persistent muscle spasms

In addition to these qualifying conditions, severe debilitating pain which has not responded to alternate treatment or surgical measures for three months also qualifies.

North Dakota Department of Health Medical Cannabis

The North Dakota Department of Health supplies everything from user guides to compliance testing to presentations, annual reports, press releases, state laws and all the forms you need to either register as a patient, caregiver or health care provider. Patients with a qualifying medical condition need to complete an online application for their registry card. Written certification will then need to be obtained from a health care provider.

North Dakota Department of Health

Once approved, the patient will receive their registry identification card. After you receive your card, medical marijuana can be purchased from any registered dispensary. Even though applications for patients and caregivers have been open for quite some time, dispensaries are not yet available.

Cannabinoid Products

Even though North Dakota is still waiting for its dispensaries, the North Dakota Department of Health has declared the cannabis products which will be available. Qualifying patients can look forward to purchasing any of the following:

  • Capsules containing cannabis concentrate
  • Cannabis concentrate
  • Edibles
  • Tinctures
  • Topical treatments
  • Cannabinoid transdermal patches

According to state guidelines, while patients can keep marijuana for the relief of their symptoms, the only products which truly qualify as medical cannabinoid products are tinctures, capsules, transdermal patches, and topicals.

The dried flowers, leaves or any other part of the plant, as well as the raw concentrate and all cannabis edibles, are not strictly medical cannabinoid products. It is due to nuances such as this within the legislation that law enforcement has criticized the legalization of cannabis. 

The Future of Marijuana in North Dakota

A poll during 2018 brought promising results. North Dakotans favored a ballot initiative for recreational marijuana legalization at 49-39. The state has come a fair way since the 24-68 result against legalizing recreation marijuana in 2014. While it looks likely that recreational marijuana will be legalized in the course of 2019, North Dakotans still don’t have dispensaries.

The timeline was originally set for the end of 2018, but the state will have to wait even longer. The extension is being blamed on many factors although a common complaint from state police is how the legalization of marijuana created a need for more investigative work. The longer it takes for dispensaries to open, the more favor is forming for the full legalization of recreational marijuana.

Nonetheless, North Dakota will be getting dispensaries in Bismarck and Fargo coming first, while Grand Forks and Williston look to see their first dispensaries supplying medical cannabis in March 2019. Jamestown, Devil’s Lake, Minot, and Dickson are only opening applications for dispensaries at the beginning of 2019.

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  1. A good look at the situation for marijuana in North Dakota. Could be more information. Thanks for the post.

    • Hi Elwood, Thanks for the comment and suggestion. We mainly want people to use the links in the post to go to sites like for up to date specific details on the law for a state and also to get people to check with their local government health department for medical marijuana. I hope the information was enough to be helpful to you. Cheers! 🙂

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