North Dakota May Have Recreational Legalization on the November Ballot

By | July 20, 2018

Michigan and Utah already have marijuana-law reform initiatives on the ballot in November. North Dakota may just join them.

On July 9, Legalize ND submitted 18,000 signatures (4,500 more than required) to get the North Dakota Marijuana Legalization Initiative on the ballot.

The measure is purposefully vague; it doesn’t call for specific amounts that would be legal or how to create a commercial market for cultivation, processing, testing and sales. That’ll be up to the legislature, says Legalize ND’s Cole Haymond:

“This bill is by far the most progressive yet most conservative marijuana legalization bill that will be on any ballot across the country. We leave our bill wide open so the legislature can do their job—regulations, taxes, zoning, whatever.”

There’s a precedent for such an initiative in North Dakota: In 2016, voters passed Measure 5, which legalized medical marijuana by a 64% margin. That bodes well for recreational legalization in the Peace Garden State.

Possession is currently a misdemeanor punishable by maximums of 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine. All other marijuana offenses are felonies. In addition to medical marijuana, hemp is legal in North Dakota. The state borders Canada, which has legalized cannabis federally; sales begin there in October, a month before the U.S. elections.

The signatures were submitted to North Dakota’s Secretary of State Alvin Jaeger. He’ll announce whether the initiative will make the ballot by August 13.

Read the full text of the measure here.

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States Where Marijuana is Legalized, Decriminalized or Medicalized

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