North Dakota to vote on recreational marijuana in November

North Dakota to vote on recreational marijuana in November
© Getty Images

North Dakotans will vote this November on a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana, state officials announced Monday.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger said that Legalize ND, the group leading the charge to get the question on the ballot, submitted 14,637 signatures last month, about 1,200 more than required.

If passed, the ballot measure would permit “non-violent marijuana related activity” for North Dakotans aged 21 and up, according to the Grand Forks Herald.

The measure allows for unlimited possession and growth of marijuana and opens the door for the state to expunge marijuana-related criminal records.

The state voted to legalize medical weed in 2016, but it has not yet been made available to the public, as officials are still licensing dispensaries and growing facilities.


David Owen, a University of North Dakota student who is leading the measure, told the Grand Forks Herald that he is pushing for legalization as a criminal justice issue.

“Because of a plant … they are now barred for the rest of their life from ever really achieving what they could be,” he told the paper. “And that is the real crime of the war on drugs.”

Opposition to the measure is coming largely from law enforcement. The North Dakota Sheriff’s and Deputies Association passed a resolution opposing the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Gov. Doug Burgum (R) said he supports decriminalization of the drug at the federal level, according to the Herald.

Recreational marijuana is currently legal in nine states and Washington, D.C., and medical pot is legal in 29. Some major cities, including New York, have also taken action to reduce prosecution of marijuana cases.