DENVER, CO - April 25, 2016: High Level, a medical marijuana shop on Colfax Ave in Denver. Colfax was once called the "longest, wicked street in America" by Playboy Magazine. (Photo by Vince Chandler / The Denver Post)

North Dakota officials gather public input on medical marijuana

WILLISTON, N.D. — North Dakota health officials will begin gathering public input Monday about proposed medical marijuana rules as the state prepares to launch its program.

Health officials plan to hear from prospective dispensary operators, patients and caregivers and anyone from the public who wants to comment at meetings in six cities over the coming week, according to the Williston Herald.

“As we continue to move forward in the process, transparency and diligence is important, and these hearings allow for transparency and input on the proposed rules,” said Jason Wahl, the interim director of the state’s division of medical marijuana.

Officials from the North Dakota Department of Health will have their first meeting Monday at Turtle Mountain Community College in Belcourt, then at the Williston Area Recreation Center later in the day. Meetings in Minot and Bismarck are scheduled for Wednesday and Fargo and Grand Forks on Thursday.

Health officials will collect comments through Dec. 26 before submitting recommendations to the legislative council by Feb. 1.

“After the department has an opportunity to fully consider the comments received, we’ll provide information to the office of the attorney general for their consideration and their legal review,” Wahl said.

Voters approved medical marijuana in November 2016 and state lawmakers crafted regulations earlier this year. Gov. Doug Burgum approved those in April, but the drug isn’t expected to be available to patients for another year.

The guidelines for the program currently allow two growing sites and eight dispensaries in the state.

Information from: Williston Herald