A North Dakota House Bill would Increase Patient Access to Medical Marijuana

A bill that passed the North Dakota House would increase the number of patients who can access medical marijuana.

It’s still awaiting a vote from the Senate, but KX News has heard from several people expressing their support.
Tonight, we introduce you to one, who says medical marijuana could be the treatment she’s been waiting for.

Rebecca Cheatley is a North Dakota native that has lived all over the state, before landing in Fargo with her son Jax, where the first and only state medical marijuana dispensary has opened.

Unfortunately, anxiety has been following her along the way.

Cheatley explains, “I’ve gone to the hospital and said, ‘I need help, I just need help’. It’s really up and down.”

The 31-year-old has been suffering from generalized anxiety disorder for close to eight years now.

She adds, “About three of those years were spent on medications.”

Doctors tried Prozac and Gabapentin, but after little success with them, she turned away from traditional medication.

Cheatley shares, “I just felt like a guinea pig. You know, because so many didn’t work, and the ones that did work wasn’t really worth it.”

Cheatley hopes one-day medical marijuana will be the answer she’s been waiting for.

This may be possible through House Bill 1519. It would add a new list of conditions that would qualify for medical marijuana treatment.

Republican Representative Ben Koppelman says, “Modern medicine only takes us so far, and there are conditions out there, some that are terminal, some that are lifelong, that we don’t have a better solution for.”

Koppelman stresses that he’s not an expert on how to treat these illnesses, but he says this is what the people have been asking for.

He explains, “Rather than saying ‘no’ all the time, maybe we need to give those individuals the opportunity to explore other avenues.”

Republican Representative Chuck Damschen is one of four representatives that voted against the bill.

Representative Damschen says, “There isn’t a condition that a doctor can prescribe it for right now because it’s federally illegal.”

He says he would consider voting for a similar bill if research is done to prove that marijuana helps to treat each of the illnesses.

Cheatley adds, “I think it’s amazing and it’s about time, and this should’ve been done years ago.”

Cheatley plans on applying for a card if the bill passes the Senate.

Representative Koppelman says next legislative session, there is talk of a list of symptoms for doctors to make the recommendation for medical marijuana, rather than continuously adding to a list.

For a full list of the conditions in House Bill 1519, click here.

Here’s the amended list from the Senate Committee.

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