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How to Open a Dispensary in North Dakota


Are you wondering how to open a dispensary in North Dakota? This page will keep you up to date on the latest news and information relevant to opening a cannabis business in North Dakota. This includes helpful insights into what is to come.

After submitting the petition language in April 2022, New Approach North Dakota concluded its signature drive on July 11, 2022, submitting more than 10,000 signatures in addition to the required number of 15,582 signatures in order to qualify its statutory adult-use legalization measure for the ballot in November 2022.

On August 15, 2020, the Office of Secretary of State Al Jaeger (R) approved the measure, certifying that the campaign had submitted sufficient valid petitions to put the measure before voters in November. 

During the 2022 Midterm Elections on November 8th, 2022, voters rejected Measure 2, which was a ballot measure that would have permitted the state to develop a market for marijuana intended for adult use. According to the office of the North Dakota Secretary of State, Measure 2 was defeated by a vote of 55% to 45% after all votes had been tallied.

Cannabis legalization efforts in North Dakota

2016 – The North Dakota Compassionate Care Act, also known as Measure 5, was passed by the voters.

2017 – Senate Bill 2344, which would make changes to the medical cannabis law that voters approved, is passed by the state legislature.

2018 – Measure 3, an adult-use legalization measure, qualifies for the ballot; voters reject it.

2019 – Gov. Doug Burgum signed HB 1050 to remove jail sentences for adults having up to half an ounce of cannabis. HB 1519 increased the list of debilitating medical disorders.

2021 – The House of Representatives of North Dakota votes in favor of House Bill 1420, but the bill ultimately fails to win approval in the Senate of North Dakota.

2022 – New Approach North Dakota collects 25,000 signatures to legalize adult-use marijuana.

How many marijuana dispensaries are in North Dakota?

The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) is required by state law to register no more than eight dispensaries unless it determines that additional entities are required to increase access to usable marijuana for registered qualifying patients and registered designated caregivers. In this case, the NDDoH may register additional entities.

In February 2019, the first dispensary in the state of North Dakota opened its doors in Fargo. A number of new dispensaries opened their doors during 2019, with the eighth and last dispensary setting up shop in Dickinson in the month of December 2019.

The state of North Dakota is home to a total of 8 dispensaries. Check out this page for a list of available dispensaries.

The Opportunity Size

According to one projection, the value of marijuana sales in North Dakota in the year 2025 is expected to be close to 25.3 million USD.

Local Cannabis Restrictions & Laws

Seven out of eleven cities whose local rules were analyzed by the American News and Public Opinion only permitted dispensaries within their borders: Milbank, Redfield, Britton, Webster, Clark, Mobridge, and Castlewood. This means that no other facilities for the production, testing, and cultivation of medical marijuana will be permitted in those communities.

When it comes to the maximum number of dispensaries, communities are establishing different boundaries. The communities of Ipswich, Clark, Faulkton, and Britton will each permit one. In Sisseton, Mobridge, Groton, Milbank, and Webster, each may have a maximum of two dispensaries. The ordinance in Redfield will allow for a maximum of three.

Medical Marijuana

In 2016, voters in North Dakota gave Measure 5 their approval, which authorized the use of cannabis for medical purposes in the state. In 2017, both chambers of the state legislature approved amendments to Measure 5, one of which was the elimination of a clause that had permitted medical marijuana patients to cultivate their own plants. It also became mandatory in some circumstances for a qualified medical practitioner to suggest smoking marijuana as a means of consumption. The requisite two-thirds majority vote was achieved in both chambers of the North Dakota State Legislature for the bill to be passed.

In order to be eligible for a medical marijuana card, patients need to be at least nineteen (19) years old when they submit their application. Patients must also have a certified diagnosis of one of 26 debilitating medical illnesses in order to be eligible for the program. Some examples of these conditions include cancer, HIV/AIDS, decompensated cirrhosis from hepatitis, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

As of the 6th of July 2022, there are a total of 8,024 active marijuana patient cards.

Medical Marijuana Program Opportunities

Medical dispensaries in the state of North Dakota are allowed to purchase medical cannabis products from only licensed manufacturing facilities. They are also allowed to store, deliver, transfer, and transport medical marijuana, but only for the purpose of dispensing the product to qualified patients or caregivers who have registered with the state. Patients and their caregivers are allowed to get educational materials and other goods related to medical marijuana from dispensaries.

At this time, no new license applications for medicinal marijuana dispensaries are being accepted. When the application is finally available, we will update this section.

How much does it cost to open a dispensary in North Dakota?

The cost to open a dispensary in North Dakota includes a non-refundable application fee of $5,000, as well as a licensing fee of $90,000.

Recreational Use Legalization

The New Approach North Dakota’s Statutory Ballot initiative creates a responsible framework to legalize and regulate cannabis for adults in the state. The language of the 2022 ballot measure is heavily based on the legislation known as House Bill 1420, which was approved by the conservative members of the North Dakota House of Representatives in 2021 but was ultimately rejected by the state’s Senate. In the event that the measure receives support from a majority of voters in the latter half of 2022, it would:

  • Make it possible for those who are at least 21 years old to possess up to an ounce of cannabis and grow up to three plants in their homes;
  • Establish several types of cannabis businesses including retail stores, manufacturers, testing labs, and others; and
  • Instruct the relevant regulatory bodies to write up cannabis use guidelines and get the program up and running by October 1, 2023, at the latest.

As it pertains to cannabis businesses:

  • It is not allowed to register more than:
  1. Seven adult-use businesses with the sole intention of running their operations as a manufacturing facility.
  2. Eighteen adult-use businesses with the sole intention of running their operations as a dispensary.
  • A registration fee of $90,000 would need to be paid by retailers while a fee of $110,000 would need to be paid by manufacturers every two years.
  • To prevent a few major corporations from cornering the market, the proposal prohibits anyone from owning more than four retail stores and one cultivation facility.

You may read the complete language of the initiative here.

We anticipate many new events through 2022 to unfold that will affect when and what recreational legalization will look like. By adding yourself to our North Dakota Cannabis Mailing List (below), we will keep you updated on all relevant news and even the more difficult-to-find news and comments related to North Dakota Legalization below. This includes but is not limited to:

  • What are the requirements to get a marijuana business license and open marijuana dispensaries in North Dakota?
  • What special programs will be available?
  • And more…

Just fill out the information below to get access.




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