Shopping Cart (0)

Is THC Legal In North Dakota

Key Takeaways:

  • Medical vs. Recreational: North Dakota allows THC for medical use with stringent qualifications, while recreational use remains illegal.
  • Legal Risks and Penalties: The state imposes strict penalties for unauthorized possession, use, or distribution of THC, emphasizing the importance of compliance with current laws.
  • Evolving Legislation: Keep an eye on potential legislative changes that could alter the legal landscape of THC usage in North Dakota, influenced by shifts in public opinion and advocacy efforts.


Being the first to combine the effects of THC with a holistic approach to wellness, SOUL takes pride in assisting you in navigating the constantly changing cannabis market. Our proficiency in producing superior, high-grade THC products enables us to provide perceptive, authoritative content intended to deepen your comprehension and improve your experience. We will traverse North Dakota's legal cannabis landscape with the help of this thorough guide. We cover everything you need to know to keep informed and compliant, from the current legal status and the differences between medical and recreational use to the penalties for non-compliance and potential future changes in legislation. Come along as we explore the nuances of North Dakota's THC laws, giving you the knowledge and assurance to interact with cannabis.


Out Of Office THC Gummies


Understanding The Difference Between Medical And Recreational Use

In North Dakota, the distinction between medical and recreational THC use is critical to understanding the state's legal approach. Medical use of marijuana was legalized in North Dakota following the passage of the North Dakota Compassionate Care Act in 2016. This law allows patients with qualifying conditions and a physician's certification to legally possess and use marijuana for therapeutic purposes.

On the other hand, recreational use of marijuana, and by extension THC, remains illegal in the state. Recreational use involves consuming marijuana without medical justification, often for personal enjoyment or other non-medical reasons. This distinction is vital for residents and visitors, as the legal consequences for recreational use are significantly different from those for sanctioned medical use.

Current Laws Governing THC In North Dakota

Navigating the legal landscape of THC in North Dakota can be complex. Below is a detailed breakdown of the key regulations you need to know:

Medical Marijuana Access

In North Dakota, access to medical marijuana is restricted to individuals who have successfully registered with the state's medical marijuana program. Applicants must have a qualifying medical condition as diagnosed by a licensed healthcare provider, and receive a specific certification from their doctor. The program aims to ensure that only those with genuine medical needs are able to access marijuana for therapeutic use.

Controlled Substances List

Under North Dakota law, THC is categorized as a Schedule I controlled substance, which is the same classification it holds under federal law. This classification is based on the view that THC has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use in treatment, outside of the exceptions granted for medical marijuana under state law. This strict classification affects everything from criminal justice responses to research permissions.

Regulated Dispensaries

The state of North Dakota mandates that THC products intended for medical use must be purchased from dispensaries that have been officially licensed by the state. This regulatory approach ensures that the products sold meet stringent safety and quality standards. It also helps to regulate the distribution and prevents the diversion of medical marijuana into non-medical channels.

Penalties For THC Possession In North Dakota

Understanding the penalties for THC possession in North Dakota is crucial for residents and visitors alike. Here's what you need to know about the legal consequences of possessing, distributing, and manufacturing THC in the state:

Recreational Possession

In North Dakota, possession of marijuana for recreational use remains strictly illegal. Possession of up to half an ounce of marijuana is typically treated as an infraction, which carries a fine but no jail time. However, possession of more than half an ounce moves into misdemeanor territory, with the potential for heavier fines and jail time. Possessing significantly larger amounts, or being caught with marijuana multiple times, can lead to felony charges, which are far more serious and include lengthy prison sentences.

Distribution And Manufacture

Engaging in the unauthorized sale, distribution, or cultivation of marijuana is considered a major criminal offense in North Dakota. Those found guilty of these activities face severe penalties, including the possibility of lengthy prison sentences and substantial fines. The state aims to strictly control the supply of marijuana to prevent illegal market activities, reflecting a broader stance of zero tolerance for the commercial exploitation of controlled substances.

Medical Use Violations

Patients who are legally registered and approved for medical marijuana use must adhere strictly to the guidelines set by the state. Violations such as possessing more than the prescribed amount of marijuana, or obtaining marijuana from non-licensed sources, can lead to significant legal consequences. These might include fines and the possibility of losing access to the medical marijuana program entirely. The state's regulations are designed to ensure that medical marijuana is used responsibly and solely for the purpose of patient care.

Impact Of Federal Laws On North Dakota's THC Regulations

The interplay between federal and state laws can significantly affect THC regulations in North Dakota. Here are some key points on how federal laws impact THC regulations in the state:

Federal Schedule I Classification

THC's classification as a Schedule I drug under federal law signifies that it is considered to have no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. This classification creates a significant legal conflict between federal and state laws, particularly in states like North Dakota that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. This disparity can affect everything from law enforcement practices to legislative approaches, as state officials navigate the complex interplay between adhering to state laws and the overarching federal prohibitions.

Banking Restrictions

The Schedule I status of marijuana severely restricts the ability of marijuana-related businesses to access standard banking services. Banks and financial institutions, which are federally regulated, often refuse to serve businesses that engage in activities considered illegal under federal law. This forces many marijuana businesses in North Dakota to operate on a cash-only basis, which presents numerous challenges, including security concerns and difficulties in managing finances and expanding operations.

Federal Enforcement

Although the enforcement of federal marijuana laws can be inconsistent and is influenced by changing political climates and priorities, federal agencies retain the authority to enforce federal laws against marijuana possession, use, and distribution in North Dakota. This can lead to situations where individuals and businesses legally compliant with state law still face the risk of federal prosecution. Such enforcement actions can create uncertainty and instability within the state's legal marijuana industry, affecting everything from investment in the sector to the daily operations of businesses and consumers' willingness to participate in the market.

Legal Alternatives To THC In North Dakota

For those in North Dakota looking for legal alternatives to THC, a variety of options exist. Here’s a guide to understanding what’s available in the state:

CBD Products

In North Dakota, Cannabidiol (CBD) offers a legal alternative to THC and is derived from the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, CBD does not produce psychoactive effects, which means it does not cause the "high" associated with marijuana. This makes it a popular choice for those seeking the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the psychoactive side effects. CBD is available in a variety of forms, including oils, creams, edibles, and capsules, catering to different preferences and uses.

Hemp-Derived Products

With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp, defined as cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC, was federally legalized. This has led to the widespread availability of hemp-derived products in North Dakota. These products include CBD oils derived from hemp, as well as hemp-based textiles, building materials, and more. Hemp products offer many of the benefits associated with cannabis but remain fully legal under both federal and state laws.

Synthetic Cannabinoids

For those in North Dakota requiring therapeutic benefits similar to THC but through a legal avenue, synthetic cannabinoids like dronabinol may be prescribed. Dronabinol, a synthetic form of THC, is FDA-approved to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy and to improve appetite in patients with AIDS. It is available by prescription and is regulated to ensure safety and efficacy. This provides a legal option for patients needing cannabinoid treatment but who cannot or prefer not to use natural THC due to its legal status or the psychoactive effects.

Future Outlook On THC Legislation In North Dakota

As the landscape of cannabis legislation evolves, North Dakota stands at a crossroads. Here's what the future may hold for THC legislation in the state:

  • Potential for Legalization Movements: Advocacy and public opinion are shifting, possibly leading towards legislative efforts to legalize or decriminalize recreational marijuana in future sessions.
  • Medical Program Expansion: There may be efforts to expand the list of qualifying conditions under the medical marijuana program or to ease restrictions for patients and providers.
  • Impact of Neighboring States: Legal changes in nearby states may influence North Dakota's approach to marijuana legislation, particularly if those states see economic benefits from legalization.

These factors collectively suggest that North Dakota's legislative landscape regarding THC is poised for potentially significant changes, driven by both internal dynamics and external influences.

Final Thoughts 

 Understanding the legal status of THC in North Dakota is crucial for both residents and visitors. While medical marijuana is legal for registered patients with specific conditions, recreational use remains prohibited under state law. The landscape is complicated further by federal regulations that classify THC as a Schedule I substance. However, legal alternatives such as CBD and hemp-derived products offer some options for those seeking the benefits of cannabis without the psychoactive effects of THC. As the legal and social landscapes continue to evolve, North Dakotans should stay informed about changes in legislation that could impact their rights and responsibilities regarding THC.


Out Of Office THC


Read also: 

Frequently Asked Questions About THC Legality In North Dakota

Is it legal to drive under the influence of medical marijuana in North Dakota?

No, driving under the influence of any form of marijuana, including medical marijuana, is illegal in North Dakota and can result in DUI charges.

Can I grow my own marijuana plants in North Dakota if I have a medical marijuana card?

No, even with a medical marijuana card, patients are not allowed to cultivate their own marijuana plants. All medical cannabis must be purchased from licensed dispensaries.

Are there employment protections for medical marijuana users in North Dakota?

North Dakota law does not require employers to accommodate medical marijuana use or possession in the workplace, and employees can face penalties or dismissal if found using or possessing marijuana at work.

Can non-residents purchase medical marijuana in North Dakota?

No, only registered North Dakota residents with a valid medical marijuana card are permitted to purchase medical marijuana within the state.

What happens if I’m caught with THC while visiting a federal park or land in North Dakota?

Possession of THC on federal lands is illegal under federal law, regardless of state laws, and can result in federal charges.

Are THC-infused edibles legal in North Dakota?

THC-infused edibles are legal only for registered medical marijuana patients and must be purchased from a licensed dispensary.

How can I dispose of unwanted THC products legally in North Dakota?

Unwanted THC products should be returned to the dispensary where they were purchased for proper disposal to ensure they are handled in compliance with state regulations.

What are the consequences for selling THC without a license in North Dakota?

Selling THC or marijuana without a license is illegal and considered a serious offense, potentially leading to felony charges.

Is it legal to use THC for animal treatment in North Dakota?

No, THC is not approved for veterinary use in North Dakota, and using it to treat animals could result in legal repercussions.

Can I use THC for religious purposes in North Dakota?

North Dakota law does not provide exemptions for the religious use of THC, and such use would be subject to the same penalties as recreational use.


  1. Hansen, C., Alas, H., & Davis Jr., E. (2021, June 30). Where Is Marijuana Legal? A Guide to Hemp Legalization. US News & World Report. https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/where-is-Marijuana-legal-a-guide-to-Hemp-legalization
  2. Inc, G. (2021, November 4). Support for Legal Marijuana Holds at Record High of 68%. Gallup.com. https://news.gallup.com/poll/356939/support-legal-Marijuana-holds-record-high.aspx
  3. Washington DC Hemp Laws | WashingtonDCCannabis.org. (n.d.). Washington D.C. Cannabis Information Portal. https://washingtondccannabis.org/laws
  4. Dorbian, I. (n.d.). Despite Some Stumbles, Total Sales In U.S. Cannabis Market Could Soar To $50.7 Billion By 2028, Says Top Researcher. Forbes. Retrieved October 18, 2023, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/irisdorbian/2023/02/15/despite-some-stumbles-total-sales-in-us-cannabis-market-could-soar-to-507-billion-by-2028-says-top-researcher/?sh=1f90e293164d