August 15, 2018, North Dakota
Residents in North Dakota will vote on the legalization of recreational cannabis in this year’s public ballot. Secretary of the state has confirmed that marijuana activists have succeeded in collecting the required number of signatures to make the question of legalization a part of November ballot.
Dave Owen, a cannabis activist who spearheaded the canvassing campaign for the legalization initiative, has termed it a public referendum on recreational cannabis. Last month, Owen’s group Legalize ND was able to gather 17,965 signatures in support of the measure. According to local laws, 14, 637 signatures are required for any question to qualify for the ballot. After verifying the collected signature, the state administration has green-lighted the initiative for the November Ballot.
An Unrestrained Marijuana Initiative
If voters approve the initiative, it will legalize personal cultivation and possession of marijuana in the state. The measure will also allow the production and sales of cannabis on a commercial basis. Unlike most statewide cannabis laws in the country, the measure doesn’t set any limit on the amount of cannabis a person can possess or the number of plants that can be cultivated domestically.
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), an organization working nationwide on marijuana law reforms, has congratulated the local cannabis activists who tirelessly worked for the legalization initiative. NORML’s executive director Erik Altieri has particularly appreciated the work of all those volunteers who went door-to-door for canvassing and gathering the required number of signatures.
Altieri believes that the issue of cannabis reforms is not partisan or regional anymore. It is indeed a fact that more than 60 percent of all US citizens want to end cannabis prohibition. One after another, the states are choosing the sagacious path of regulation and legalization instead of persisting with prohibitions and incarcerations.
While voters are gearing to give their opinion on the status of adult-use cannabis, North Dakota Attorney General has already opposed the measure. Even before the activists started to gather the signatures, he had told the media that marijuana legalization wouldn’t be good for the state.
The Attorney General is of the belief that legalization will put the burden on the healthcare sector with increased cases of substance abuse linked to marijuana. In order words, the law enforcement challenges will be shifted from one place to another.
Medical Marijuana Program is Still in Limbo
Recreational marijuana might get legalized this November. However, patients in North Dakota are still waiting to get legal access to medical cannabis. Voters passed the Compassionate Care Act for MMJ legalization two years ago through the same public ballot. However, state lawmakers are still trying to work out the provisions of the MMJ program.
Activists are hopeful that the success of the adult-use initiative will speed the development on medical cannabis. The state has received 20 license applications for MMJ dispensaries so far. But it’s not clear when the state will issue licenses to the eligible applicants. It is expected that the sales of medical cannabis will begin next year.
Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]