GRAND FORKS — Another step forward in getting the medical marijuana program operating after more than two years was announced Wednesday, Feb. 20, when Strive Life North Dakota signed an agreement for a supply of products for its Grand Forks facility from Pure Dakota LLC, a manufacturing facility in Bismarck.
Strive Life North Dakota was approved for a dispensary certificate last November, one of eight awarded in regions across the state. The Grand Forks operation is expected to launch in April or May and will offer a diverse inventory of patient-focused products.
A dispensary in Fargo, operated by a different company, is expected to open Feb. 28, and will also get its products from Pure Dakota, as it began its growing operation before the Fargo facility.
In announcing the Strive Life supply agreement, the company said it was the first of its kind in the state.
Pure Dakota operates a 20,000 square-foot facility and houses 1,000 marijuana plants, the maximum under state law. The state House has passed and the state Senate is expected to approve raising the number of plants that can be raised in the manufacturing facilities.
“We have the utmost respect for Pure Dakota. Together, as trusted providers we will advance the wellness of patients,” said Strive Life North Dakota founder Jonathan O’Keefe in a statement.
O’Keefe, a North Dakota native who operates three McDonald’s restaurants in two states, is part of the Strive Life leadership team with David M. Hale. Hale holds his commercial real estate license and business with Property Resources Group and is a former professional athlete who played eight years in the National Hockey League.
Strive Life is working with an Arizona company called Item 9 Labs Corp., an industry leader in the development and manufacturing of marijuana products and delivery platforms. Item 9 Labs will be operating as licensed dispensaries, cultivation and manufacturing facilities in a projected 10 U.S. markets by the end of 2019. It is working on a novel intranasal delivery system for patients that they say can provide significant health benefits.
“We look forward to having Pure Dakota as one of our main inventory suppliers,” said Sara Gullickson, CEO of Item 9 Labs, in announcing the agreement.
North Dakota voters approved medical marijuana in 2016 and rejected a ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana last November. The U.S. medical marijuana market is expected to surpass $8 billion by 2024, according to a Global Markets Inc. research study.