Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem issued an opinion Tuesday that companies applying to grow or distribute medical marijuana are “not presumed to be subject” to North Dakota’s law prohibiting corporate farming.
His opinion is a response to state health officer Mylynn Tufte’s request asking whether such companies must comply with the law, which Tufte and Secretary of State Al Jaeger said gives them clarification and guidance.
“I think that this is quite in line with what the legislators had told us during the administrative rules hearing,” Tufte said. “They also agreed that corporate farming did not apply to (compassion centers).”
Compassion centers include the two medical marijuana manufacturing facilities and eight dispensaries that can be located in the state.
In his opinion, Stenehjem said Jaeger’s office was “reluctant” to register businesses interested in applying for compassion center licensure due to the horticultural aspect of medical marijuana production. The state’s anti-corporate farming law includes horticulture in its definition of farming.
“Although medical marijuana will be grown using horticultural techniques, there is nothing in the medical marijuana law that requires a compassion center to be located on farmland or ranchland,” Stenehjem wrote. “The law requires that medical marijuana be produced in an enclosed, locked facility that does not allow the plants to be visible from the street or other public areas.”
Local zoning laws as well as the state health department address the siting and suitability of a compassion center’s location, Stenehjem wrote, rather than the corporate farming law.
Jaeger said his office checks with the attorney general upon receiving any paperwork involving farming and a corporate entity.
“We welcomed the opinion,” he said. “It provides the direction that we need.”
He also said