In late 2016, North Dakota voters approved medicinal cannabis and now, two years later, the state is preparing for its first medicinal cannabis dispensary to open this week. As noted in the Washington Post article linked below, "New York City-based Acreage Holdings plans to open The Botanist in Fargo on Feb. 28, selling drugs produced by a manufacturing facility in Bismarck... The dispensary first will need to undergo what amounts to a final state inspection to ensure it meets all security rules..."
Original rules for medicinal cannabis use in North Dakota were created by lawmakers last year and listed 17 conditions for which cannabis could be prescribed. Earlier this week the state legislature, however, expanded the list of legal conditions to 30. That bill passed in the state House and awaits approval in the Senate.
While a two-year roll out may seem slow, North Dakota took its time in an attempt to ensure that the state's program will protect the best interests of patients there. The delay was due to the North Dakota Health Department's requirements for the establishment of an effective system. The state has ensured to implement a monitoring/tracking system and contracted a Pennsylvania-based company to perform testing of cannabis products.
Such steps are crucial to the longevity of cannabis because safety precautions can prevent headline news about contaminated products. With decades of misinformation and negative stigmas surrounding cannabis these efforts will go far in ensuring that anti-cannabis advocates have less ammunition in the future and that patients who find relief in cannabis will have continued access to needed medication.