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ND Senate votes to delay parts of medical marijuana law

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Rep. Robin Weisz, R-Hurdsfield.2 / 2

BISMARCK — The North Dakota Senate voted 45-0 Tuesday, Jan. 17, to delay parts of the recently passed medical marijuana law.

Senate Bill 2154 delays certain provisions of the Compassionate Care Act to give the North Dakota Department of Health more time to set up rules governing medical marijuana.

Nearly 64 percent of North Dakota voters approved an initiated measure last November that legalizes the use of marijuana for defined medication conditions.

Senate Minority Leader Joan Heckaman, D-New Rockford, said the bill aims to safeguard citizens by allowing time to develop safe, carefully written laws addressing medical marijuana.

The suspension is effective through July 31 or the effective date of legislation authorizing the prescription, dispensing, growth and use of medical marijuana, whichever comes first.

"The reason this bill is here is to provide sufficient time for the health department to develop rules and regulations for oversight of this measure," said Heckaman, a member of the Senate Human Services Committee.

The House Human Services Committee will take up the bill as soon as it receives it, which may be as early as Wednesday afternoon or early next week, said Chairman Robin Weisz, R-Hurdsfield. He anticipates House members also will support the bill.

"I don't know that it'll be unanimous here, but I think it'll pass easily," Weisz said.