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North Dakota hospitals hear calls for medical marijuana

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Two North Dakota hospitals say their providers have received requests from patients for medical marijuana.

Altru Health System spokeswoman Sally Grosgebauer last week confirmed that the hospital has received “several requests” for certifications for patients to obtain medical marijuana.

She was unable to disclose when the requests were made or how many.

Under North Dakota law, patients with qualifying conditions complete online applications for medical marijuana. Their health care providers then provide a written certification for patients to obtain the drug.

In Fargo, Sanford Health doctors also have received requests to complete written certifications for medical marijuana, said spokeswoman Nadine Aljets.

“We do not track stats on this as it is an individual physician with patient,” she added.

As of Monday morning, North Dakota has issued more than 130 cards for patients and dedicated caregivers across the state to obtain medical marijuana, according to Jason Wahl, director of the state’s medical marijuana division. The state began issuing medical marijuana cards last month.

The state is in the middle of processing about 120 additional applications, Wahl said.

To obtain the drug, patients must have a “debilitating condition,” such as cancer, HIV and post-traumatic stress disorder. The North Dakota House on Feb. 18 approved a bill that would add 13 additional conditions to the list, including autism, anxiety and migraines.

“We’ll continue to monitor the status of any potential changes to the program,” Wahl said of any proposals in the Legislature.