Group information petitions to place leisure marijuana on North Dakota’s November poll

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By Calvin S. Nelson

BISMARCK, N.D. — Organizers of a poll initiative to legalize leisure marijuana in North Dakota submitted petition signatures on Monday, probably organising one other statewide vote on the problem that voters and state lawmakers have beforehand defeated.

The New Financial Frontier measure group submitted greater than 22,000 signatures, sponsoring committee chairman Steve Bakken mentioned. The initiative wants 15,582 legitimate signatures to make the Nov. 5 common election poll. Secretary of State Michael Howe’s workplace has till Aug. 12 to evaluate the petition signatures.

Bakken, a Burleigh County commissioner and former Bismarck mayor, mentioned the measure is an effort to preclude anyone from out of state that is perhaps doubtlessly unmanageable.

“Quite a lot of what we do not wish to see is what is going on on in a few of the different states, and we expect that it is a measure that matches the conservative nature of North Dakota,” Bakken instructed reporters in an workplace the place Howe’s employees unboxed petitions. Additionally, legislation enforcement assets ought to focus extra on opioids and fentanyl, not minor marijuana offenses, he mentioned.

The 20-page statutory measure would legalize leisure marijuana for individuals 21 and older to make use of at their properties and, if permitted, on others’ non-public property. The measure additionally outlines quite a few manufacturing and processing rules, prohibited makes use of — equivalent to in public or in autos — and would permit dwelling cultivation of crops.

The measure would set most buy and possession quantities of 1 ounce of dried leaves or flowers, 4 grams of a cannabinoid focus, 1,500 mg of whole THC within the type of a hashish product and 300 mg of an edible product. It might permit hashish options, capsules, transdermal patches, concentrates, topical and edible merchandise.

Marijuana use by individuals beneath 21 is a low-level misdemeanor in North Dakota. Leisure use by anybody older is just not a criminal offense — however possessing it’s, with penalties various from an infraction to misdemeanors relying on the quantity of marijuana. Supply of any quantity of marijuana is a felony, which may be elevated relying on sure components, equivalent to if the offense was inside 300 ft (91 meters) of a college.

Final 12 months, 4,451 individuals statewide had been charged with use or possession of marijuana, based on North Dakota Courts knowledge requested by The Related Press.

North Dakota voters beforehand rejected legalization measures in 2018 and 2022.

In 2021, the Republican-led state Home of Representatives handed payments to legalize and tax leisure marijuana, which the GOP-majority Senate defeated. Opponents decried what they referred to as the dangerous physiological and societal results of marijuana.

Voters authorized medical marijuana use in 2016. The state-run program has almost 10,000 energetic affected person playing cards.

In 2019, the state’s Pardon Advisory Board authorized a brand new course of to ease pardons for low-level marijuana offenses. Republican Gov. Doug Burgum granted 100 such pardons from 2019 to 2023, based on his workplace.

Twenty-four states have legalized leisure marijuana for adults. Ohio did so most just lately, by initiative in November 2023. Measures shall be on the poll in Florida and South Dakota in November.

In Could, the federal authorities started a course of to reclassify marijuana as a much less harmful drug.

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