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East Grand Forks man hopes to open medical marijuana dispensary in Devils Lake

DEVILS LAKE—An East Grand Forks man wants to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Devils Lake.

Aaron Hall has submitted an application to the city of Devils Lake that details plans to open what he has dubbed the Devils Lake Dispensary at 810 10th St. S.E. Sketches and a letter from Hall speak of making changes to the building at the site.

"This building has specifically been chosen due to being a new build and for the professional look," Hall said in a letter obtained from the city through an open records request. "I am planning to emulate a pharmacy rather than what one thinks of as a 'head shop.'"

It's unclear when the dispensary would open if approved by city leaders and the North Dakota Department of Health. The City Commission tabled a conditional use permit for the dispensary Monday during its regular meeting.

Hall declined to comment, saying it is too early in the process.

North Dakota voters approved a measure in 2016 that would allow the state to have a medical marijuana industry. The state Health Department is allowed to approve dispensary permits for eight regions. The facilities must be within 50 miles of Williston, Dickinson, Minot, the Bismarck-Mandan area, Devils Lake, Jamestown, Grand Forks and Fargo.

The Health Department has chosen dispensaries for Williston, Fargo, Grand Forks and the Bismarck-Mandan area, but it doesn't plan to open the application period for the Devils Lake area or the remaining three regions until January, said Jason Wahl, director of the medical marijuana division for the Health Department.

The Health Department cannot release the names of medical marijuana dispensaries because of confidentiality clauses written into state law, Wahl said. That information includes names and addresses for the facilities, but Harvest Health and Recreation, which plans to open dispensaries in Williston and the Bismarck area, Acreage North Dakota in Fargo and We-Mend in Grand Forks have allowed the state to release their names.

Because the application has not been submitted to the Health Department, it doesn't fall under the state medical marijuana confidentiality laws, Wahl said.

Hall plans to develop policy and educational programs for his clients and the general public, according to the letter. He also will have armed security at the site during operational hours, security cameras and other security measures at the dispensary.

"I have focused my business plan on using local resources," he wrote in the letter. "I will keep this theme when hiring employees. I plan on hiring a full-time employee immediately, followed by a part-time employee—with room for possible expansion depending on how the business does."

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.

(701) 780-1248
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