- Associated Press - Thursday, April 13, 2017

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum says the state’s new voter-approved medical marijuana law would work better if the federal government would decriminalize the drug.

The Republican made the statement Thursday after saying he would sign legislation that establishes rules for the use of marijuana as medicine for people who suffer from debilitating illnesses.

Marijuana is illegal under federal law. Pot businesses in other states deal mostly in currency because banks are hesitant to serve the industry. Burgum says cash-only businesses attract a “criminal element.”

Burgum says North Dakota’s state-owned bank could issue debit cards to those who use medical marijuana. But he says bank officials and regulators are “terrified” of idea because of marijuana’s illegal federal status.

Burgum says he smoked marijuana once in 1976 while hitchhiking to Alaska.

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