North Dakotans won't be consuming medical cannabis edibles anytime soon. The two bills seeking to legalize the medical marijuana product category failed to advance through the state legislature.
On Tuesday, members of GOP-led North Dakota House of Representatives killed House Bill 1202 from Rep. Steve Vetter, R-Grand Forks, in a 55-37 vote and House Bill 1164 by Rep. Vicky Steiner, R-Dickinson in a 20-72 vote. Both measures required a supermajority for passage, reported the Bismarck Tribune.
The often-conservative state legalized medical marijuana in November 2016, and the first store opened on March 1, 2019.
Since the initial passage, citizens have faced roadblocks when attempting to become patients. Moreover, patients can consume only dried marijuana leaves and flowers or products containing THC, such as concentrates, tinctures, capsules, transdermal patches and lotions.
Those advocating for the policy change say that edible squares and lozenges are a much healthier option as they allow for more accurate dosing.
"This is something the people wanted," Vetter said. "The people voted for this, and now here we are, six years later, trying to give the people what they originally asked for."
However, those opposing the effort are raising concerns that cannabis edibles could be easily ingested by children possibly resulting in major health hazards.
According to findings recently published in the journal Pediatrics, there have been 3,054 cases of children accidentally eating edible cannabis reported in 2021 compared to 207 in 2017. Another study published in Clinical Toxicology showed similar results, with a staggering 245% increase in cannabis abuse among adolescents since 2000.
Meanwhile, in terms of the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana, North Dakotans remain more conservative.
Measure 2, which would have legalized the possession and retail sale of marijuana, lost by nearly ten percentage points in November's midterms.
Photo: Courtesy of Elsa Olofsson on Unsplash
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