Grand Forks City leaders deciding location of medical marijuana dispensary
GRAND FORKS, ND — As medical marijuana inches its way onto the market in North Dakota, city leaders in Grand Forks have to pick a place for you to get your pot.
It’s on South Washington where city leaders say a marijuana dispensary could soon be installed but for some users it's the wrong spot for a pot shop.
Medical marijuana could soon be in the hands of some North Dakotans.
“We're talking about people with cancer, seizures, all that,” said marijuana advocate, Dave Owens.
But for some -- the program isn't moving fast enough.
"They've delayed this implementation 18 months there are people who have died since the passage of this bill who have never got to see medicine that could help them,” said Owens.
State guidelines have a limit of one dispensary within 50 miles of Grand Forks.
Dave Owens worries people with severe medical conditions living in small towns won't have access.
"A lot of them can't drive. So how are they going to get to Grand Forks when they live 30, 40 miles away,” said Owens.
The only requirement by the state is that the shop can't be within 1-thousand feet of a school.
City planners want to develop guidelines around where the dispensary can go-- with hopes of putting it next to the other retail locations around town.
"Our main commercial corridors in terms of Gateway, Washington, 32nd Ave. or possibly 42nd Street but those would be the likely areas once we determine the proximity to schools,” said Brad Gengler, of Planning and Zoning.
In a state where the snow stacks up -- Owens says people living in towns like Northwood, N.D., may struggle to make the drive in winter.
He hopes recreational marijuana could provide them with a solution.
"Make it so that you can grow 3 to 5 plants in your backyard or lawn or what have you and that way we don't have these issues of sick people not being able to get their medicine,” said Owens.
With parents across the state waiting for CBD (Cannabidiol) to be legal Owens say the delays are forcing parents to make difficult decisions.
"You're basically telling them either you have to run the risk of being a felon or you have to watch your kid suffer,” said Owens.
The soonest we could see a medical marijuana dispensary in town would be at least a year away.