North Dakota state employees will be discouraged from using medical marijuana

"The position that the state is working towards is zero tolerance," says the state assistant attorney general

BISMARCK, N.D. — Medical marijuana is on the minds of county leaders as they gather in Bismarck for their annual conference.

Local government representatives gathered for their first session on Monday to discuss the impacts of the legalization of medical marijuana on counties.

Association of Counties attorney Aaron Birst said counties and local municipalities are going to have to figure out how they’ll structure zoning and other issues as it relates to medical marijuana.

“We have to figure out how to regulate it, working with the state, and where the placement should be in terms of the county zoning,” Birst said.

During the discussion, Tara Brandner, assistant attorney general, suggested that county governments be left to determine their hiring practices.

“The position that the state is working towards is zero tolerance,” Bradner said of state employees.

Medical marijuana will be in the hands of patients sometime next year as county officials and commissioners learn what it will mean locally.

The North Dakota Department of Health has drafted rules and is in the process of creating a system to track medical marijuana growing and sales, Bradner said. They allow for two manufacturing facilities and eight dispensaries. The placement of a dispensary can’t be near a school, nor can anyone consume or possess medical marijuana around or near school events.

People interested in growing and dispensing medical marijuana will need to pay fees, including an $110,000 registration fee for manufacturing facilities and a $90,000 fee for dispensaries, which will be charged every two years.

North Dakota residents voted to legalize marijuana in November.

Information from: KXMB-TV