Monday we start the sixth week of the Sixty-sixth Legislative Assembly.
By Rep. Karen Rohr
The floor sessions will be running into the evening this next week to ensure that all bills are heard before crossover. Below is a summary of interesting bills heard in the Human Services and Government and Veterans Affairs Committees this past week.
House Human Services Committee
HB 1119, 1272, 1283, 1417, 1519 There were six marijuana bills reviewed by the committee. Several were combined to address access, debilitating conditions and edibles. The committee combined the language in different bills to expand the medical conditions that would allow patients to use medical marijuana. Some of the new conditions covered include opioid withdrawal, anxiety disorder, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, autism spectrum disorder and several others.
The committee changed the way medical providers deal with medical marijuana patients. The legislation still requires a strong medical provider-patient relationship. The provider must still certify that the patient has one of the conditions allowed to be covered under the law, but they no longer must certify that the patient may be helped by medical marijuana.
Some providers are reluctant to certify that the patient’s condition may be helped by the product, when there were no medical studies to support making that recommendation. Health care providers allowed to certify use, subject to their scope of practice are medical doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
Relating to medical marijuana products
This bill would allow licensed medical marijuana dispensaries to include edible marijuana products for sale. The supporters of this law stated that this would allow for greater access to medical marijuana for individuals who are not able to smoke or ingest medical marijuana in other forms. The law would attempt to prevent children from unintentionally accessing the product by prohibiting the edible products to be in cartoon forms or other attractive forms for children. The State Health Council would be required to create rules for labeling the products in order to warn of the consequences of unintentional ingestion. The committee amended the bill to clarify the restrictions on marketing the products to minors and to give the Health Council the ability to adopt rules to enforce the marketing restrictions. The committee voted 10-3-1 “Do Pass as Amended”.
House Government and Veterans Affairs Committee
HB 1435 Relating to the governance, purchase, financing and operation of the state radio broadcasting system:
This bill authorizes a trunk system for a state interoperable radio network as many communication systems are archaic in the state. The state would invest $40 million along with $80 million in loan from the Bank of North Dakota. The remaining project costs, approximately $86 million, would be the responsibility of the local cities and counties. The bill appropriation also includes a $1,500 state subsidy for public safety radios. The committee voted 13-0-1 “Do Pass as Amended” and re-referred to the Appropriations Committee.
HB 1223 Relating to the powers of the highway patrol (HP) to exercise general police powers: Under current statute, the HP has authority to respond to emergency situations on private property upon request by the local jurisdiction. This bill expands the authority of the HP and would allow them to exercise general police powers over any violation of law committed on public or private property when requested by another law enforcement agency. This would provide supplemental law enforcement services when local resources are unavailable. The bill passed by a narrow margin in committee, 8-5-1.
This concludes my summary for week five of the 66th Legislative Session.
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Stay warm and have a Happy Valentine’s Day.