North Dakota

Is weed legal in North Dakota?

No, adult-use cannabis is illegal in North Dakota. Medical marijuana, however, is legal for qualified patients.

North Dakota has decriminalized small amounts of weed. Possession of less than 0.5 ounces as a first offense is considered a criminal infraction with a penalty of no jail time and a fine up to $1,000. Ingesting marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,500. 

Legislative history

North Dakota's history of marijuana prohibition stretches back to 1933, when the state passed a bill outlawing the plant. Decades later in 2016, voters passed Measure 5, the North Dakota Compassionate Care Act. It authorized the sale of medical marijuana the following year but it took the North Dakota Legislative Assembly two years to create regulations.

In 2017, legislators prohibited home cultivation of medical marijuana, which voters supported in the ballot initiative. The legislation also extended legal protections to patients, caregivers, and medical marijuana businesses.

In May 2019, Gov. Doug Burgum signed HB 1050, reducing marijuana possession penalties. The law reclassified possession of up to 0.5 ounces (14 grams) of cannabis and marijuana-related paraphernalia to a criminal infraction punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and no jail time for first-time offenders.

The governor signed HB 1417, which allowed medical marijuana patients with debilitating cancer to buy more cannabis in a month as long as their medical marijuana card stated the larger amount.

In April 2019, the governor signed HB 1519, which expanded the list of debilitating medical conditions. 

Where is it safe to purchase weed in North Dakota?

Only registered medical marijuana patients may legally purchase cannabis in North Dakota. Allowed forms of medical marijuana include:

  • Capsules
  • Concentrates or extracts
  • Dried leaves and flowers 
  • Solutions
  • Topicals
  • Transdermal patches

Minor patients and their caregivers aren't allowed to purchase flower or anything with more than 6% THC. Otherwise, patients and caregivers can buy up to 2.5 ounces of flower and up to 4 grams of total THC in other products within a 30-day period. Patients with cancer can obtain a special “enhanced” medical marijuana card that allows them to purchase up to 6 ounces of flower. 

Outside of existing state sales taxes, North Dakota does not impose any additional or specific excise or other tax on the cultivation, manufacturing, or sale of medical marijuana. 

Patients and caregivers should keep medical marijuana in the original packaging it came in from the dispensary. 

Finding licensed dispensaries in North Dakota

Medical marijuana cardholders can find licensed dispensaries in North Dakota. Delivery services are illegal in the state.  

Where is it safe to consume cannabis?

North Dakota law prohibits the use of marijuana in public places and workplaces. 

Smoking medical marijuana in public is governed by the same regulations restricting tobacco smoking in public. Smoking or vaping marijuana is also illegal anywhere a minor could inhale the smoke or vapor. 

Possessing cannabis

Registered patients and caregivers can possess up to 3 grams of flower while “enhanced” cardholders can have up to 7.5 ounces of flower in a 30-day period. Cardholders can also have a total of 4 grams of THC in other products. Minors under the age of 19 are not allowed any flower. In addition to flower, allowed forms include capsules, concentrates, solutions, transdermal patches, and topicals.  

Possessing up to 0.5 ounces of cannabis without a medical marijuana card could result in a $1,000 fine. Holding more could lead to jail time and larger fines.  

Home cultivation is not legal in North Dakota.

Registered qualifying patients and their registered designated caregivers cannot be arrested, prosecuted, denied rights or privileges, or disciplined by state courts or regulatory agencies solely for using or possessing legal medical marijuana products.

Medical marijuana registry

The North Dakota Department of Health regulates cannabis products for medicinal use through its Division of Medical Marijuana. Adult patients, minor patients, and caregivers can apply for medical marijuana ID cards through the marijuana program's online registration portal. 

Qualifying conditions

  • Agitation of Alzheimer's disease or related dementia
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Autism spectrum disorder 
  • Brain injury
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Cancer
  • Crohn's disease
  • Decompensated cirrhosis caused by hepatitis C
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, or elastic skin
  • Endometriosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Migraine
  • Neuropathy
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Spinal stenosis 
  • Terminal illness
  • Tourette syndrome
  • A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or their treatment that produces one or more of the following: 
    • Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
    • Intractable nausea
    • Seizures
    • Severe debilitating pain that has not responded to conventional treatment for more than three months, or for which other treatment options produced serious side effects
    • Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including multiple sclerosis.

Patient qualifications

To apply for a medical marijuana ID card, patients must be 19 or older and a legal resident of North Dakota able to prove residency through a state-issued ID. A parent or guardian of a minor patient can apply on their behalf.

Registration process

  1. Complete the online patient application
  2. Provide a digital copy of a valid North Dakota driver's license or state-issued ID
  3. Upload a passport-style photo
  4. Include the name and email address of the certifying health care provider
  5. Designate a caregiver, if applicable
  6. Sign release of medical information form
  7. Pay $50 non-refundable application fee

Once the application is complete, the medical marijuana office will contact the health care provider for a written certificate attesting to the patient's debilitating medical condition. 

Minors younger than 19 seeking medical marijuana ID cards must have their applications completed by parents or legal guardians. The application fee is waived for parents and guardians of minor patients.  

Caregivers

A designated caregiver must be at least 21 years old and a resident of North Dakota. Caregivers can provide care for up to five patients unless they themselves are a patient, in which case the maximum is four. 

Registration process

  1. Complete the caregiver application
  2. Provide a digital copy of a valid North Dakota driver's license or state-issued ID
  3. Upload a passport-style photo
  4. Include the patient's 10-digit barcode
  5. Request and submit background check paperwork and fees
  6. Pay $50 non-refundable application fee

Reciprocity

North Dakota does not recognize medical marijuana ID cards from other states. Medical marijuana patients moving to North Dakota must apply for state medical marijuana ID cards.

Lab testing

North Dakota requires all medical marijuana grown and produced in the state to be tested by a state-approved lab. Each batch must be tested for:

  • Cannabinoids and potency
  • Heavy metals
  • Microbes
  • Mycotoxins
  • Pesticides
  • Solvents
  • Water activity and moisture content

Frequently asked questions

Is North Dakota a no-tolerance state?

There's no set definition for the term “no tolerance.” However, there are very clear consequences for drug-related crimes in North Dakota. For example, North Dakota law states that a person operating or attempting to operate any vehicle while under the influence of any drug or combination of drugs that makes them unable to operate the vehicle safely, or who refuses a related drug test, can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. The first conviction for this offense carries a mandatory sentence of a $500 fine and evaluation by a licensed addiction treatment program. 

What is the mandatory minimum sentence for drug possession?

North Dakota doesn't have mandatory minimum sentencing for simple possession. The amounts given here are maximums. Less than 0.5 ounces as a first offense is considered a criminal infraction with a penalty of no jail time and a fine up to $1,000. Possession of 0.5 ounces to 500 grams is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,500.

Ingesting marijuana is also a Class B misdemeanor. More information is available in the state's Century Code

How do I get a medical card in North Dakota?

To apply for a medical marijuana ID card, patients 19 or older who are legal residents of North Dakota can visit the Medical Marijuana Program application page

This page was last updated November 23, 2020.

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The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical or legal advice. This page was last updated on February 1, 2021.