Licensed cannabis cultivation in Cass County is legal only for medical purposes under the State of North Dakota’s North Dakota Century Code (NDCC) Chapter 19-24.1 effective April 2017 and North Dakota Administrative Code (NDAC) Article 33-44-01 effective November 2017.
For a company to cultivate medical cannabis in Cass County, a compassion center license for a manufacturing facility must be applied for from the HHS because such a license covers both the cultivation of cannabis crops for medical use and the manufacturing of medical cannabis products. It is also possible to apply for a license as a manufacturing facility for production only, which limits the operations to cannabis crop cultivation.
NDCC Chapter 19-24.1 allows the HHS to approve only two medical cannabis compassion centers operating as manufacturing facilities statewide. Of these, one was approved in the City of Fargo in Cass County in December 2018. The first one approved was located in another county in September of the same year.
The following fees apply to medical cannabis manufacturing facilities:
The non-refundable application fee: $5,000
The certification fee: $110,000
The certification fee for production-only manufacturing facilities: $70,000
The licensed medical cannabis manufacturing facility must pay $10,000 more in the certification fee for every 500 cannabis plants after the first 1,000 plants. This additional amount must be paid to the HHS at the time that the facility increases its crop. Upon the renewal of the two-year certification, the same fee applies to every 500 plants in excess of the first 1,000.
Before applying to the HHS, the company must register with the North Dakota Secretary of State and get a good standing certificate. The company owner and officers must agree to undergo a criminal background check. The company must also prove that its proposed location complies with local zoning regulations and has been approved by local officials. There must be more than 1,000 feet between the licensed medical cannabis manufacturing facility and any existing school.
The cultivation and processing activities of the licensed medical cannabis manufacturing facility must be indoors within an enclosed and locked structure. Cultivation within a locked greenhouse is allowed. All medical cannabis growing and manufacturing must not be seen from any area that is open to the public. A security system must be implemented 24 hours a day even during power outages. It must have multiple alarms and surveillance cameras with footage that is date-and-time-stampled. Recordings for the first year must be kept for at least 90 days and for at least 60 days in succeeding years. Only authorized staff may enter the facility.
Pesticides are not allowed in medical cannabis cultivation. Pesticides with minimum risk may be allowed only with prior approval from the HHS. All cannabis crop batches and medical cannabis product batches must have random samples tested by a laboratory approved by the HHS. All medical cannabis waste must be managed and disposed of according to NDAC Article 33-44-01. The licensed medical cannabis manufacturing facility must establish an inventory control system.
Licensed medical cannabis product manufacturing in Cass County is legal under NDCC Chapter 19-24.1 and NDAC Article 33-44-01.
For a company to manufacture medical cannabis products in Cass County, an HHS compassion center license for a manufacturing facility is required. That license allows both the growing of cannabis crops for medical use and the processing of medical cannabis products. It is also possible to apply for a license as a manufacturing facility for processing only, which limits the operations to medical cannabis product manufacturing.
The application and certification fees for medical cannabis manufacturing facilities are as previously mentioned. However, the certification fee for product processor-only manufacturing facilities is $30,000. All previously discussed requirements for licensed medical cannabis manufacturing facilities apply.
Packaging for all types of medical cannabis products must be plain and unattractive to children, child-resistant, and tamper-evident. Licensed medical cannabis manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that the following limits are complied with for every product:
A cannabis capsule can only have a maximum tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of 50 milligrams.
A cannabis transdermal patch can only have a maximum THC content of 50 milligrams.
A topical cannabis formulation can only have a maximum THC content of six percent.
A cannabis solution can only have a maximum THC content of 30 milliliters in one container.
Pediatric medical cannabis can only have a maximum THC content of six percent.
Licensed retail selling of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products exclusively to medical cannabis cardholders in Cass County is legal under NDCC Chapter 19-24.1 and NDAC Article 33-44-01.
For a company to sell medical cannabis products by retail in Cass County, an HHS compassion center license for a dispensary is required. NDCC Chapter 19-24.1 allows the HHS to approve only eight medical cannabis compassion centers operating as dispensaries statewide. Of these, the first medical cannabis dispensary license issued was in the City of Fargo in Cass County in March 2019. As of December 2019, all eight dispensaries had been licensed throughout the state.
The following fees apply to medical cannabis dispensaries:
The non-refundable application fee: $5,000
The certification fee for dispensaries in a city with a population of 10,000 or lower: $30,000
The certification fee for dispensaries in a city with a population over 10,000: $90,000
A licensed medical cannabis dispensary is only permitted to have a maximum of 99.22 kilograms of cannabis in any form. It is allowed to sell to medical cannabis cardholders dried cannabis flowers and leaves and medical cannabis products such as capsules, solutions, transdermal patches, and topical formulations, except for cannabis-infused edible products. For registered medical cannabis patients below 19 years old, the licensed dispensary is only allowed to sell pediatric medical cannabis.
The licensed medical cannabis dispensary is only allowed to sell to each medical cannabis cardholder within every 30-day period a maximum of 2.5 ounces or 70.87 grams of dried cannabis flowers or leaves or 4,000 milligrams of THC in a medical cannabis concentrate or medical cannabis product.
Even if the patient is allowed on the registry to have more than the usual limit, the maximum that can be dispensed for every 30-day period is six ounces or 170.01 grams of dried cannabis flowers or leaves per cardholder.
The licensed dispensary is also allowed to sell to medical cannabis cardholders the supplies necessary for medical cannabis use and related educational materials.
Before dispensing medical cannabis and medical cannabis products, the licensed dispensary must verify the purchaser’s medical cannabis card against the online registry of the Medical Marijuana Program.
The delivery by licensed medical cannabis dispensaries of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products only to medical cannabis cardholders in Cass County is legal under NDAC Article 33-44-01.
It is also legal for licensed medical cannabis facilities to transport medical cannabis and medical cannabis products among themselves.
Residents of Cass County aged 19 and older may apply for a medical cannabis card from the HHS if they are being treated by a healthcare provider for one of the following debilitating medical conditions:
HIV positive status
Autism spectrum disorder
Decompensated cirrhosis from hepatitis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Posttraumatic stress disorder
Agitation of Alzheimer's disease or dementia
Spinal stenosis or chronic back pain
Chronic or debilitating disease or treatment causing any of the following:
Severe and persistent muscle spasms
Severe debilitating pain not responding to medication or surgery, or for which other treatment options produced severe side effects
The patient must create an account on the Medical Marijuana Program registry, fill up the patient application form, upload the specified photo and state ID card, and pay the $25 fee. The patient must also fill in the name and email address of the healthcare provider. The Program will contact the healthcare provider who will then provide the written certification for the patient.
If the adult patient requires a caregiver, this must be indicated in the online application and the caregiver’s detail must be provided. The patient must provide the caregiver with the patient’s barcode number and then the caregiver must also apply online separately. There is no fee for the caregiver application.
Applications for patients below 19 years old must be done by or with the help of a parent or legal guardian. The parent or legal guardian or another adult must then be designated as the minor’s caregiver and apply accordingly. If the parent or legal guardian becomes the designated caregiver and the patient lives in the same residence, the application fee is waived. Otherwise, the fee is also $25.
Veterans being treated for a debilitating medical condition by any veterans’ affairs institution are exempted from having to get a written certification. Instead, they have to submit their medical records from any veterans’ affairs institution and their military discharge documents.
A physical medical cannabis card will be mailed to the patient or caregiver. An electronic medical cannabis card will also be available online once the application has been approved.
Questions may be sent to the following:
Division of Medical Marijuana
600 E Boulevard Ave, Dept 325
Bismarck ND 58505-0250
Phone: (701) 328-1311
Fax: (701) 328-1333
According to the Medical Marijuana Program Annual Report for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, total statewide dispensary sales of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products were over $6.36 million in 2020, nearly $15.34 million in 2021, and $19.97 million in 2022.
Medical cannabis was legalized in Cass County effective in 2017.
Data from the Cass County Sheriff's Office on the FBI’s Crime Explorer page shows that in 2016, the year prior to medical cannabis legalization, there were 36 marijuana offense arrests, all for possession.
In 2018, which was the year after the legalization of medical cannabis, there were 57 marijuana offense arrests, comprised of 50 arrests for possession and seven arrests for sales or manufacturing.
In 2021, which is the latest available data, there were 13 marijuana offense arrests, comprised of 12 arrests for possession and one arrest for sales or manufacturing.
The number of DUI arrests was as follows in those years:
2016: 143 arrests
2018: 142 arrests
2021: 80 arrests