BISMARCK – Following a historic election Tuesday night, North Dakotans woke up the next day stunned and amazed to hear that ballot Measure 5 had passed. The ballot initiative to establish a comprehensive medical marijuana program in North Dakota, received over 200,000 “yes” votes to pass.
“This is an exciting day for North Dakota patients and families. Many of these folks have suffered for years while awaiting legal access to this medical treatment option” stated Anita Morgan, of North Dakota Compassionate Care, a committee formed to support Measure 5. “We are proud of North Dakota voters for standing up for patients at the polls.”
Measure 5 will allow North Dakota residents suffering from certain qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. Patients will be able to access medical marijuana from tightly regulated non-profit compassion centers that will be licensed by the state to cultivate and dispense limited amounts of marijuana. Patients who live more than 40 miles from a compassion center will be permitted to grow a limited amount of marijuana in a secure space for their personal medical use.
“Measure 5 is going to improve the quality of life for many North Dakotans. There is no longer any doubt that cannabis is effective in the treatment of several debilitating medical conditions” Morgan said. “It can alleviate the nausea that cancer patients experience as they undergo chemotherapy. It can dramatically reduce or even eliminate seizures in patients suffering from epilepsy. And it can serve as a much safer alternative to prescription drugs that are often prescribed to patients who are dealing with severe and chronic pain.”
A measure resembling Measure 5 failed to reach the state ballot in 2012, after thousands of signatures were determined to be counterfeit.
[File by Piper Combs]