As the State of North Dakota works toward implementing the legalization of medical marijuana voters approved on the 2016 ballot, one issue relating to our state’s ban on corporate farming cropped up.
Is growing medical marijuana farming for the purposes of the corporate farming ban?
That’s the question Mylynn Tufte, the State Health Officer, asked Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. What she got back was a legal opinion saying pot operations which are legal under the law are not farming mostly because they won’t necessarily be located on land zoned for farming or ranching.
Stenehjem first notes that the intent of the corporate farming ban is to protect access to farm/ranching land:
But then he notes that marijuana grow operations don’t necessarily have to exist on that sort of land:
Makes sense I suppose. Though as I’m reading the opinion, the corporate farming ban would still apply if medical marijuana growers want to operate on farm or ranch land. As long as they keep their operations – which are limited to no more than 1,000 plants – on, say, commercial land the ban doesn’t apply.
In a perfect world, though, we’d just rid ourselves of the ban on corporate farming. North Dakotans can organize themselves into corporations to conduct pretty much any type of business – including, very soon, growing marijuana – except farming or ranching. With the only exception being for corporations formed among close relatives.
Here’s the full opinion: