North Dakotans to vote on marijuana legalization in November

Associated Press/Carlos Osorio
An attendant holds a mason jar of marijuana at the Far West Holistic Center dispensary, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, in Detroit.

North Dakota voters will decide this fall whether to legalize recreational marijuana, following the official certification of a ballot measure.

Secretary of State Al Jager said his office determined that 23,368 signatures out of the submitted 25,000 were valid, clearing the ballot qualification threshold of 15,582 required signatures. 

If enacted, the measure will permit adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis and small quantities of cannabis products, such as concentrates and infused products. 

It will also establish a regulatory system for registered cannabis businesses, run by the Department of Health and Human Services or another agency designated by the Legislature.

Regulators would have until October 1, 2023 to develop rules related to security, advertising, labeling, packaging and testing standards.

The ballot measure would prohibit public consumption of marijuana, and allow only 18 state-approved dispensaries and seven manufacturing facilities. In an effort to prevent monopolization of the industry, the measure requires that no individual or entity be permitted to own more than one cultivation facility or four retail locations.

North Dakota voters approved the legalization of medical marijuana in 2016 but rejected a recreational legalization measure.

According to the petition’s sponsors, the language is largely based on legislation that passed the state House, but failed in the Senate.

“There is no public safety benefit from arresting adults for small amounts of marijuana,” Mark Friese, an attorney and former police officer who serves as the campaign’s treasurer, said in a statement. 

“It is a waste of taxpayer resources and a distraction from serious public safety concerns. Cannabis causes far less harm than alcohol. Many people find therapeutic benefits from it. The government shouldn’t be in the business of punishing adults who use cannabis responsibly.”

Tags Ballot measure Cannabis Cannabis Legalization Marijuana Marijuana marijuana legalization marijuana legalization North Dakota

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