North Dakota lawmakers are considering a variety of studies this legislative session, including one that focuses on the impacts of cannabis legalization.
According to the Bismarck Tribune, state lawmakers are mulling over the approval of a total of 46 studies. The studies range in multiple topics, from studies regarding classroom violence, voter ethics, film incentives and veterans programs.
But of course, the cannabis-related study review received extra attention. Discussed by a committee called Lawmakers of Legislative Management, the original cannabis review was shortened to include a study that considers “the potential benefits and detriments of legalizing recreational marijuana.”
Cannabis research and studies are in high demand, but there are many facets of cannabis that states want to investigate. In this case, Rep. Bill Devlin wants to get an overview of how legalization will affect North Dakotans. “But if you’re going to look at it, I think you have to look at it fairly from both sides and let both sides present from wherever it is and go from there,” said Devlin.
Other representatives, such as Karla Rosa Hanson, argued that the study should be less broad. “I think of zoning. I think of tax revenue. We have a human services role and we have law enforcement and the criminal justice system,” Hanson said. “And then, of course, we already have the medical marijuana program.” Her motion to focus the study was not approved.
According to the Grand Forks Herald, lawmakers rejected recreational cannabis last year and approved medical cannabis in 2016, but had to make a lot of amendments to the medical program.
This all points to good news for North Dakota, and legislators have been taking some positive steps toward legal cannabis. Earlier in May, a cannabis decriminalization bill was signed, as well as an expansion to the state’s medical cannabis program. Many are hopeful that this legislative session is a sign that cannabis will be legalized in the near future.