Firm seeks permit to build medical marijuana growing facility in Fargo

FARGO - Grassroots Cannabis, a firm with ties to Chicago, has submitted plans to build a medical marijuana manufacturing facility in an industrial park south of Fargo proper, according to information filed with the city's inspections department.

FARGO - Grassroots Cannabis, a firm with ties to Chicago, has submitted plans to build a medical marijuana manufacturing facility in an industrial park south of Fargo proper, according to information filed with the city’s inspections department.

The facility, listed as Grass Roots Vending (the legal name for Grassroots Cannabis in North Dakota), would sit on what is now a weed-filled lot at 4050 98th Ave. S., about a quarter mile west of the Wild Rice/Horace exit from Interstate 29. It is in Fargo’s extraterritorial area.

A second firm, Pure Dakota, LLC, was selected earlier this year by state regulators to build a medical marijuana manufacturing facility in Bismarck.

The application by Grass Roots Vending, first submitted in mid-August, was initially refused by the engineering department for failure to include plans for the civil aspects of the project, such as grading, location of the building on the site, and underground utilities locations. However, Deputy Inspections Administrator Chris Rose said Friday, Sept. 7, that those plans were very recently submitted.

The firm must still submit plans for the building itself, which must be inspected for safety, structure and design issues.

“I know they’re crunched on time,” but Grassroots Cannabis must submit the building plans, too, Plans Examiner Peter Valkov said. “We need good architecture and good structural plans before we complete the code review.”

The plans must be approved by the city’s engineering, fire, planning and inspections departments. The local health department is not on the required approval list.

The grow facility “is our first one. We’re going to treat it like any other greenhouses,” Rose said.

“Hopefully, there’s no hiccups.”

The Forum left messages with Perinne Knight, chief administrative officer of Grassroots Cannabis, and attempted to contact the firm through its Facebook page. No answer was received from company officials by last Friday afternoon.

On its website, Grassroots Cannabis says it grows and processes medical marijuana, and has facilities in Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Ohio and North Dakota.

Grassroots Cannabis lists its headquarters as Taneytown, Md. However, on LinkedIn several of the firm’s top officers list the Chicago area as where they are located.

In addition to the two growing facilities, there will be eight medical marijuana dispensaries.

On Aug. 7, applications for dispensaries in Bismarck/Mandan and Fargo were closed. There were 11 applications for the Fargo site and eight for Bismarck. Site selection is expected to be completed by late September, according to the North Dakota Department of Health’s Division of Medical Marijuana.

Dispensary application periods for Grand Forks and Williston are to open in late September, with applications for Devils Lake, Dickinson, Jamestown and Minot anticipated to open in January, the Department of Health reports.

Earlier this year, the health department reported that Keystone State Testing was awarded a contract to perform laboratory services for the medical marijuana program. Keystone, doing business as Dakota State Testing, will test marijuana for safety before it's transferred to a dispensary.

Voters legalized medical marijuana by initiated measure in November 2016, but state lawmakers, citing flaws, rewrote the law in 2017.