Medical marijuana operations wouldn't be considered farming under bill in ND Legislature

BISMARCK, N.D. -- A bill passed by the North Dakota Senate would remove "the growing or processing of marijuana" from the definition of "farming or ranching," which would mean growing marijuana would not be included under the state's ban on corpo...

A marijuana grow operation in Colorado. (Pixabay photo)
A marijuana grow operation in Colorado. (Pixabay photo)
We are part of The Trust Project.

BISMARCK, N.D. - A bill passed by the North Dakota Senate would remove “the growing or processing of marijuana” from the definition of “farming or ranching,” which would mean growing marijuana would not be included under the state’s ban on corporate farming.

North Dakota’s existing corporate farming law limits corporate farming to entities that consist of up to 15 shareholders who must be closely related or closely related through marriage. Under Senate Bill 2200 , marijuana grown for medicinal purposes under North Dakota law would not be considered farming or ranching.

SB 2200 unanimously passed the Senate in late January but has yet to be assigned to a House committee.

The floor discussion of the bill lasted only a few minutes. Sen. Arne Ostland, R-Mayville, introduced the bill as a representative of the Senate Agriculture Committee, which had given the bill a do-pass recommendation. Ostland’s urging of passage included little explanation of its purpose but did point out that its sponsors were leadership from both parties: Senate majority and minority leaders Rich Wardner and Joan Heckaman and House majority and minority leaders Chet Pollert and Josh Boschee.

Sen. Jerry Klein, R-Fessenden, the assistant majority leader of the Senate, gave a little more explanation but still didn’t delve into the need for the bill.


“The attempt here is to make sure that we understand that medical marijuana growing is not going to fall under the corporate farm exclusion,” Klein said.

An unrelated bill that would open up corporate farming to second cousins , House Bill 1388 , has been assigned the House Agriculture Committee. No hearing date has been set.

What to read next
40-Acre Co-op offers farmers from socially disadvantaged backgrounds support and resources to succeed in the field, while Big River Farms is an incubator farm near where farmers have access to land, farm resources and education to build their businesses.
Farmers had a challenging year in 2022 for weed infestations because of a late planting season and dryness, especially in central and southern South Dakota. Kevin Erikson, lead sales representative for Wilbur-Ellis at Salem, South Dakota, discusses recommendations for grappling with weeds, including herbicide resistance, and year-end chemical and fertilizer purchases.
Nature Energy plans to operate plants in Minnesota and Wisconsin that would use manure from dairy farms and other organic waste to create natural gas for heating homes and other uses. A subsidiary of the Shell petroleum company is buying Denmark-based Nature Energy for $2 billion
The labor intensive nature of the work, the length of time it takes for an evergreen tree in North Dakota to grow to a saleable height, and the competition from “big box” stores are deterrents to raising Christmas trees, said Tom Claeys, North Dakota state forester.