North Dakota Giving Legalization One More Try

Defeated in 2018, back for another go in 2020. (young84, Brickclay/iStock)

FARGO, ND — A group that pushed to legalize cannabis in North Dakota last year is back for another try.

Legalize ND expects to submit a new proposed initiative to the secretary of state’s office soon. The group’s leader, David Owen, said the new measure will be far more specific than the one that voters soundly defeated last November.

Measure 3, last year’s effort, asked voters to install one of the most wide-open, least regulated cannabis industries in America. The initiative would have removed all forms of cannabis from the state’s list of scheduled drugs. The measure did not install any regulatory system, licensing rules, taxation levels, or possession limits. Nearly 60% of voters rejected it.

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More Details This Time

Owen and other backers of the new effort say the 2020 version will contain a far more detailed regulatory scheme. The group’s proposal would limit possession to 2 ounces, and wouldn’t allow home growing. It’s also expected to call for child-resistant packaging and no marketing to children. Owen said it also would prohibit smoking in public or in vehicles.

Barry Amundson, writing for Fargo-based Inforum, posted a detailed look at the current effort yesterday. According to Inforum, a sponsoring committee of 25 stakeholders will review and then vote on the final draft of the measure.

Amundson wrote:

Owen said many thought the last ballot measure was “too vague” and failed to provide enough regulations. The new 20-page proposal, written by West Fargo criminal defense lawyer Scott Brand, is a combination of regulations drawn from recreational marijuana measures approved so far in 11 states.

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10% Tax Expected

The new measure is expected to call for a 10% cannabis excise tax and create a three-member Marijuana Control Commission, appointed by the governor. Owen’s group is still working on the wording of an expungement clause that would remove cannabis convictions from a person’s record.

The group needs about 13,450 signatures for the initiative to be approved for next year’s ballot. Owen said he expected signature-gathering to begin in August, several months earlier than last time around.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.