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What Are the Cannabis Licensing Requirements in North Dakota? (February 2024)

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Medical marijuana has been legalized in North Dakota since 2016 through the passage of SB 2344. This legislation allows individuals with chronic, debilitating, or terminal medical conditions to use medical marijuana. North Dakota specifies various qualifying conditions such as cancer, HIV, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, anorexia, bulimia, anxiety, Tourette syndrome, endometriosis, migraines, and more. Currently, the state operates eight medical marijuana dispensaries.

Regarding recreational marijuana use, in May 2019, North Dakota eliminated the possibility of imprisonment for the possession of small amounts of marijuana. While recreational marijuana remains illegal, a ballot initiative was approved by the House in March 2021. However, the Senate later rejected the initiative. In July 2022, activists submitted signatures for another marijuana legalization ballot initiative. If successful, this initiative would permit adults aged 21 and older to buy and possess up to one ounce of cannabis and cultivate up to three plants for personal use.

Obtaining a Compassionate Marijuana License  in North Dakota

Application Fees: Compassion center applicants are required to submit a non-refundable application fee of $5,000.

Licensing Fees: Compassion centers in North Dakota have specific licensing fees for different types of facilities:

  • Dispensaries: $90,000
  • Manufacturing facilities: $110,000
  • Producers: Producers are allowed to handle medical marijuana for the purpose of selling medical cannabis products to licensed dispensaries.

Operations of Dispensaries: Dispensaries can purchase medical cannabis products only from licensed manufacturing facilities. They are authorized to store, deliver, transfer, and transport medical marijuana solely for dispensing to registered qualifying patients or caregivers. Dispensaries are also allowed to provide educational material and related supplies to patients and caregivers.

Criminal Background Check: Compassion center agents must undergo a criminal history record check. The associated fees for these checks are to be covered by either the compassion center or the agent. Individuals with drug-related misdemeanors within the last five years or any felony convictions are prohibited from becoming compassion center agents.

North Dakota Compassion Center Application Requirements

To apply for a compassion center license, applicants must submit the following fees and documentation:

  • Non-refundable application fee of $5,000 payable to the “North Dakota State Department of Health, Medical Marijuana Program.”
  • Legal name, articles of incorporation or articles of organization.
  • Bylaws or operating agreement.
  • Evidence of the proposed compassion center's registration with the secretary of state and a certificate of good standing.
  • Physical address of the proposed compassion center.
  • Approval from local officials regarding compliance with local zoning laws.
  • Confirmation that the proposed location is not within 1,000 feet of a school property line.
  • For manufacturing facility applicants, a description of the facility's security measures.
  • Information about principal officers and board members, including their names, addresses, and dates of birth.
  • Verification of consent to a criminal history record check for each officer and board member.
  • Relevant experience of officers and board members related to the industry.
  • Description of proposed security and safety measures in compliance with regulations.
  • Example of the design and security features of usable marijuana containers.
  • Complete operations manual demonstrating compliance with regulations.
  • Plans for providing affordable marijuana to registered qualifying patients with limited financial resources.
  • List of individuals and entities with authority over the management or policies of the compassion center.
  • List of individuals and entities with ownership interests in the compassion center.
  • Identification of any creditors holding a security interest in the compassion center premises.


North Dakota's marijuana landscape has seen notable advancements since the legalization of medical marijuana in 2016, catering to individuals with qualifying medical conditions. Despite setbacks in recreational legalization initiatives, the state's ongoing efforts were evident in the submission of signatures for a new ballot initiative in July 2022. The licensing process for Compassionate Marijuana Centers demands meticulous attention, encompassing substantial fees, strict operational regulations, and detailed application requirements. As the state endeavors to strike a balance between accessibility and regulation, those navigating these comprehensive licensing procedures contribute to shaping a responsible and potentially expanding cannabis industry in North Dakota.

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