North Dakota’s House officially approved a recreational cannabis bill on February 22.
Now, House Bill 1420 will advance to the Senate alongside a bill that would set up a plan for how cannabis would be taxed. If recreational cannabis is legalized in North Dakota, those who are 21 and up could purchase up to one ounce at a time. No home grows or public cannabis lounges will be allowed, however. The bill also puts a cap on how many grows and dispensaries can supply flower for the cannabis industry. Only seven grows can legally exist, and the state will support 18 approved dispensaries.
North Dakota legalized medical cannabis back in 2017, following the 2016 elections. This new proposal for recreational cannabis is similar to that medical program, and is consider to be on the conservative side in terms of its current wording. “You can’t be walking down the street smoking a joint,” said Representative Robin Weisz of the House Human Services Committee, the section of the House that passed the bill, regarding some of the restrictions that House members felt were necessary.
The legislation has support from Republicans such as Jason Dockter and Craig Headland, who claim that while they do not support legal cannabis in most cases, they would like to see this bill passed instead of citizen-engineered bills that would go through the constitution (South Dakota recently passed recreational cannabis this way). “There’s a lot of things I don’t agree with, but if it’s good policy and I think it’s going to be for the betterment of the State of North Dakota, I vote for it. And so I ask for a green vote,” Representative Dockter said about the bill’s future.While there is still no guarantee that North Dakota will successfully pass the bill, if they do, the state will become part of the quickly filling ranks of states with legal cannabis in the US.