North Dakota is aiming to have medical marijuana available to patients in the spring of 2018 and state health officials have just released a tentative timeline for making it happen.

According to Kenan Bullinger, the director of North Dakota’s Health Department’s medical marijuana division, “We want to know how many are really serious about getting into this, either from a grower standpoint or a distribution standpoint.”

The Health Department is asking those interested in manufacturing or distributing medical cannabis to notify the agency by the 28th of this month.

Bullinger has also said, “I think we’re still on track to deliver 12-18 months after the signing of the bill.”

“The department has studied other states, including Minnesota, that have set up medical cannabis systems to get a feel for how long it takes. The letter-of-intent process will give officials an even better idea of the number of applications that might come in, and how long it might take the state to weed through them, Bullinger said. “We want real, complete and thorough applications. We want to give as much time as possible.”

The state’s Compassionate Care Act allows the use of medical cannabis for 17 medical conditions, along with terminal illnesses.

According to the state’s bill, patients must register with the state but they cannot grow their own marijuana.

North Dakota’s Health Department will register two “compassion centers” to make the drug and there will be eight more to dispense it.

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