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Cannabis Legalization Initiative Approved for Ballot in North Dakota

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Advocates in North Dakota recently gathered more than enough signatures to qualify an initiative for the November ballot, and on August 13, Secretary of State Al Jaeger announced that there were enough valid signatures.

In 2016, North Dakotans voted to approve medical cannabis, and now residents will once again have a chance to vote on cannabis later this year—this time, for recreational cannabis. Volunteers gathered 13,452 signatures that qualified, but originally submitted approximately 18,000. The initiative’s current wording states that if passed, there would be no limitation regarding how much cannabis residents may possess or cultivate. Among other restrictions, it would also help establish a working recreational program.

Any announcement including the possibility of cannabis legalization to some degree, NORML and other cannabis advocacy groups speak out in support. This time, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri wrote a statement about North Dakota’s progress. “We applaud the hard work and dedication from the campaign and countless volunteers on the ground in North Dakota who went door to door and out into their communities to gather the signatures required to put this on the ballot in November,” he wrote. “Marijuana legalization is no longer a regional or partisan issue, with well over 60 percent of all Americans support ending our nation’s failed prohibition and I expect North Dakota voters to send shockwaves across the country this fall when they join the growing contingent of states who have chosen the sensible path of legalization and regulation over prohibition and incarceration.”

Back in 2016, 64 percent of voters chose to support medical cannabis legalization, but progress has been slow. According to Forbes, North Dakota officials announced only last week that the state has received approximately 20 medical cannabis applications for dispensary licenses. However, actual sales will not begin until at least next year.