The North Dakota Department of Health Division of Medical Marijuana’s 2020 fiscal year report shows a significant increase in the number of North Dakotans using medical marijuana.
According to the newly released report, from June 30, 2019, through June 30, 2020, there’s been about a 350 percent increase in the number of registered qualifying patients from 707 to 3,233.
There were also 2,985 applications submitted for new patient cards, with more than 500 renewed. Division of Medical Marijuana Director Jason Wahl says those numbers exceed the department’s expectations.
“When we put together the budget for this current biennium, we did project 4,000 registered patients by June 30 of 2021. So we are ahead of that projection that was done for the last budget cycle,” Wahl said.
As of Sept. 3 this year, there were 3,731 active patient cards in the state.
The first dispensary in the state opened in Fargo in March last year after the North Dakota Compassionate Care Act was approved by voters in 2016. Since then, eight total dispensaries have opened across the state with two manufacturing facilities located in Bismarck and Fargo.
Jacob Mittelsteadt, Director of Operations at Fargo’s dispensary, Pure Dakota Health, says although there’s still a stigma surrounding medical marijuana, more people have shown interest in becoming cardholders.
“We see new patients that have just recently acquired their card very frequently, I would say probably every day,” Mittelsteadt said. “We also see individuals who don’t have their card and who are looking to find more information on cannabis in general, every day.”
Those with registry identification cards must have a doctor certify they have a debilitating medical condition. Anxiety disorder tops the list in this recent report.