The North Dakota Department of Health received 97 letters from those intending to apply to be a medical marijuana manufacturer or dispensary, a figure that surprised state officials running the program.

The department asked those interested in submitting proposals to be selected as a so-called “compassion center” to submit a letter of intent by the end of the day July 28.

“We weren’t sure if we were going to get 15 or if we were going to get 40 or way more,” said Kenan Bullinger, the department’s medical marijuana director.

“That really helps us plan for the future on how much … time we need to spend reviewing these applications.” Bullinger said they hope to open the application period later this month. 

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John Hageman ~ Forum News Service via BismarkTribune.com ~