North Dakota passing medical pot even a surprise to backers

November 9, 2016 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota voters’ overwhelming approval measure that allows the use of marijuana as medicine was an unexpected victory — even for the initiative’s backers.

The initiative approved Tuesday makes it legal for North Dakota residents who suffer from one of several debilitating illnesses to use marijuana with a doctor’s permission and possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana for medical purposes.

North Dakota’s Health Department estimates medical marijuana will cost the state more than $3.5 million a year and a small army of workers to regulate.

Spokeswoman Arvy Smith says the agency was scrambling Wednesday “seeking guidance on how to move forward.”