- Associated Press - Friday, May 23, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Supporters of changing North Dakota’s pharmacy ownership law are once again hoping to bring the matter to voters.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger said he received a draft petition on Thursday and is reviewing it. If it’s approved, supporters would need to gather and submit at least 13,452 valid signatures to get a proposed measure on the ballot.

“I got the impression they want to get it on the November ballot. They don’t have much time,” Jaeger told The Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/1iaQ7Gp ).

The law in place since 1963 requires registered pharmacists to hold majority ownership of pharmacies in North Dakota. Repealing it could open the door for big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart to operate pharmacies in the state. Supporters say that could make prescriptions more affordable, while opponents say smaller pharmacies could be squeezed out.

The 2009 Legislature defeated a bill that would have repealed the pharmacy ownership requirement. The following year, Jaeger rejected submitted petition signatures because they did not include the names and addresses of sponsoring committee members. The state Supreme Court ultimately upheld his decision.

In 2012, an effort to repeal the law stalled when supporters couldn’t gather enough petition signatures.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com


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