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Fargo medical marijuana dispensary should be completed by mid-February

A former jewelry store location in the Western Center shopping mall in Fargo near West Acres will be site of the Acreage North Dakota medical marijuana dispensary. The dispensary at 4302 13th Ave. S. is expected to be completed in mid-February. Forum News Service

FARGO -- Construction on a medical marijuana dispensary in a Fargo shopping district should be completed by mid-February, according to the corporation licensed to open the facility.

All of the medicinal products sold at the Acreage North Dakota dispensary will come from manufacturing facilities licensed in Bismarck and Fargo “as we do not have a cultivation license here,” Acreage Holdings said in an email to The Forum on Thursday, Dec. 20.

The dispensary will be in the former Classic Jewelers shop in the Western Center at 4302 13th Ave. S., according to city records.  The site is near the West Acres shopping center.

Acreage Holdings grows, manufactures and distributes cannabis-based consumer and medical products in 19 states.

The dispensary will not be opened under The Botanist retail brand name, Acreage Holdings said, though that was a name included with plans submitted to the city for approval, records show.

Acreage Holdings said a full product list is not available yet for the dispensary.

A permit was also issued Nov. 29 for Fargo’s marijuana growing facility, said Christine Rose, a plan reviewer for the inspections department.

Grass Roots Vending (the legal name for Grassroots Cannabis in North Dakota) received the permit for a 3,600-square-foot pole building south of Fargo.

The application for the permit was first sought in August. The city’s engineering department was the last to sign off on the plans, Rose said.

The facility would be part of an industrial park about a quarter mile west of the Wild Rice/Horace exit from Interstate 29. It is in Fargo’s extraterritorial area.

Jason Wahl, director of North Dakota Department of Health's Division of Medical Marijuana, said that all medical marijuana products sold in the state must be manufactured here as well. Federal law doesn’t allow such products to be transported across state lines, he said.

A manufacturing facility in Bismarck, to be run by Pure Dakota LLC, is expected to be the first to supply the state’s dispensaries in Williston, Grand Forks, Bismarck and Fargo.

Wahl said the Bismarck manufacturing facility has been in operation since September and he anticipated products to be available in January.

Wahl said four other dispensaries will be opened around the state. Applications will be opened in January for dispensaries within 50 miles of Devils Lake, Dickinson, Jamestown and Minot.

Voters legalized medical marijuana by initiated measure in November 2016, but state lawmakers, citing flaws, rewrote the law and approved it in April 2017, Wahl said,

Wahl said implementation of North Dakota’s medical marijuana law may seem slow, but other states typically take 18 to 24 months - some longer. He expects North Dakota’s system will land within the typical time frame.

He said that the state had received more than 140 applications for medical marijuana from qualifying patients and designated caregivers.

Acreage Holdings (formerly called High Street Capital Partners) was founded in 2014, and has diverse portfolios of cultivation, processing and dispensing in the United States.

Arcview Market Research, a firm that follows the cannabis industry, projects that by 2022 the legal cannabis market in the U.S. will be more than $23 billion and create more than 467,000 full-time equivalent jobs.

Acreage Holdings recently reported revenues up $5.5 million, up 160 percent from the same period a year before, for its fiscal third quarter (ending Sept. 30). Year-to-date revenues were $10.6 million, up 92 percent for the same period last year.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including K-12 education, Fargo city government, criminal justice, and military affairs. He is currently one of The Forum's business reporters.

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