North Dakota

Dispensary POS Software

When you adopt Green Bits as your dispensary POS in North Dakota, you gain a partner who has been leading the industry since 2014, guiding the conversation, and delivering the best technology for point of sale, inventory management, and BioTrack compliance.
Compliance 101

When you adopt Green Bits as your dispensary POS in North Dakota, you gain a partner who has been leading the industry since 2014, guiding the conversation, and delivering the best technology for point of sale, inventory management, and BioTrack compliance.

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In 2016, North Dakota legalized cannabis for medical purposes and decriminalized recreational possession to a misdemeanor crime. Recreational cannabis use remains illegal, with a late 2018 legalization vote losing with a 41% rating.

North Dakota spent three years developing a legal framework for its medical cannabis industry. As of February 2019, the state’s first medical cannabis dispensary is days away from opening. The state is also accepting applications for new dispensary locations in various regions.

North Dakota Regulations

Do I need a dispensary license to operate in North Dakota?

Yes. North Dakota requires cannabis dispensaries to apply for and acquire a license in order to sell cannabis products to qualifying patients. The state refers to dispensaries as compassion centers.

Who manages cannabis licenses in North Dakota?

The North Dakota Department of Health manages a division that manages cannabis licenses for dispensaries, cultivators, and patients. The Department of Health began printing and issuing medical marijuana patient cards in early 2019.

How do I obtain a cannabis dispensary license in North Dakota?

Organizations that wish to obtain a cannabis dispensary license must apply for the right to sell cannabis in a specific geographical area. As of February 2019, North Dakota is accepting applications for Devils Lake, Dickinson, Jamestown, and Minot.

What are the requirements for a cannabis retail license?

North Dakota requires applicants to submit full business plans, including comprehensive security plans for preventing the diversion of cannabis products towards the black market. Local approvals must be ready at the time of submission. Additionally, cannabis dispensary executives must submit to background checks.

How much does a cannabis retail license cost?

Dispensary applicants must pay a $5000 fee when submitting their application for review. Approved applicants must pay an additional fee for certification – $90,000 for dispensaries and $110,000 for cultivation facilities.

Are there annual licensing fees?

Yes. North Dakota cannabis dispensaries must pay a $90,000 renewal fee every two years. This fee is refundable in the event that the state does not approve the renewal application.

What license type do I need to service recreational and medical patients?

North Dakota differentiates between dispensary licenses and cultivation licenses, but assumes that cultivators will open their own dispensaries. As a result, the state offers both dispensary and cultivation licenses under the same framework, but with different requirements.

When will cannabis retail licenses be issued?

North Dakota does not specify how long it will take to verify applications and issue dispensary licenses. Most of the legislation surrounding the state’s medical cannabis industry is new, and application submission has not yet completely finished throughout the state.

Will I be able to obtain a retail license if I already have a dispensary?

Probably. There is nothing in the state’s medical marijuana law that would prohibit a new dispensary owner or an out-of-state dispensary operator from obtaining a medical cannabis license. In fact, the state specifically encourages individuals with industry experience.

What local (county-level) permissions will I need to operate?

Dispensaries may not be located within 1000 feet of an existing public or private school. Local municipalities are empowered to pass their own laws concerning medical marijuana dispensary zoning and permissions.

Cannabis Event Licensing

Do I need a license to host a cannabis event in North Dakota?

No. North Dakota does not require event organizers to obtain special licensing to host or organize cannabis-themed events.

Do I need a separate premises license for cannabis events?

No. Event organizers in the cannabis industry are not obligated to apply for special permits. Venues and conference centers are within their rights to refuse to service the cannabis industry if they choose, however.

Can I obtain a cannabis event license if I hold a retailer license?

Yes. Dispensaries in North Dakota can host and organize cannabis-related events without applying for special licensing.

Managing Your Business in North Dakota

How can I ensure that I remain compliant?

North Dakota requires dispensaries to adhere to a variety of highly specific regulations and to individually certify each dispensary employee. Dispensary owners should appoint an experienced compliance officer who can help them navigate the process from the very beginning.

What security measures am I required to take?

Dispensaries must operate and monitor a closed-circuit surveillance system 24 hours per day. The Department of Health and Human Services requires Internet access to dispensary surveillance systems. Additionally, dispensaries must implement three separate alarm systems: a duress alarm, a silent hold-up alarm, and an audible panic alarm. All systems must incorporate backup solutions to cover for potential power outages.

Can I package and label cannabis in my retail store?

North Dakota stipulates a difference between packaging and labeling cannabis products. Manufacturing facilities package cannabis products, while dispensaries label those products in accordance with state rules for prescription drugs. For instance, products must carry the qualifying patient’s name and medical marijuana card number.

Can I sell alcohol or tobacco at my cannabis retail store?

Don’t risk it. North Dakota state law does not mention the sale of alcohol or tobacco in dispensaries. But because neither tobacco nor alcohol has therapeutic uses, it’s unlikely that the state would tolerate their presence in a medical clinic.

Can I vertically integrate my cannabis businesses?

Yes. North Dakota allows dispensaries to operate both dispensaries and cultivation sites simultaneously. However, the application requirements for dispensaries that also cultivate cannabis are notably stricter and require greater up-front investment.

Can I sample or give products away in-store?

No. North Dakota dispensaries are specifically prohibited from giving away cannabis product samples free of charge. All sales must be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services, and all unsold cannabis accounted for and destroyed.

What are the operating hours for a retail shop?

North Dakota does not require dispensaries to adhere to specific hours of operation, but it does require them to post their hours of operation on a public website. Additionally, the state requires dispensaries to operate a 24-hour contact line for emergency purposes.

Can I have public-facing displays on my storefront?

Yes, but North Dakota does not allow dispensaries to display images of marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia. It does not allow colloquial references to marijuana or the names of individual strains to be advertised except inside the dispensary.

How old does someone need to be to buy cannabis?

Medical marijuana patients must be at least 19 years of age. Patients under the age of 19 may only obtain medical marijuana through the participation of a certified caregiver.

What is seed-to-sale reporting and what is required of retailers?

North Dakota obliges dispensaries to report seed-to-sale logistics information to the Department of Health and Human Services. This information includes cannabis product batch numbers and authorizations throughout the supply chain. This allows state authorities to track cannabis sales and prevent cannabis products from being diverted to the black market.



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