A group that failed in its efforts to see North Dakota legalize marijuana in 2018 will launch a second bid next year after overhauling its strategy.
Campaigners at Legalize ND championed a ballot that asked voters in the Peace Garden State to usher in one of the most liberal cannabis industries in the U.S. Almost 60% of voters rejected it.
Advocates claimed that Measure 3 was far too vague and cited this as the reason why voters rebuffed efforts to permit recreational cannabis use in North Dakota. Now Legalize ND has signalled its intent to see another ballot put to voters in 2020, featuring a much more detailed proposal.
It would cap possession at 2 ounces, outlaw home growing and introduce strict rules to prevent marketing to children, while it would also prohibit smoking cannabis in public.
It would slap a 10% excise duty rate on cannabis sold at licensed retailers across the state. The money could be used to boost spending on public services, addiction services, and education measures.
Legalize ND would need to garner 13,452 signatures to put the initiative on next year’s ballot. That should be achievable, as the group has almost 10,000 members and it had little trouble in drumming up the necessary support in 2018. It plans to start canvassing voters much earlier this time around and it is confident in its chances of success.
David Owens, the leader of Legalize ND, laid down a number of highlights featured in the new bill. It would ensure that supplying marijuana to a minor would result in a Class A misdemeanour and that existing penalties for anyone driving while impaired by cannabis would remain.
Cities would be able to opt of allowing retail stores in their communities, or limit the number permitted.
It would also create an independent Marijuana Control Commission, featuring three members that would oversee the licensing authority and police the industry. The governor would appoint those members, along with a Marijuana Advisory Board of no more than 10 members.
Owens expects Secretary of State Al Jaeger’s office to write up draft legislation following a consultation period, and voters will then decide whether it should pass into law next year. He feels that it stands a better chance this time around as it is more specific and addresses concerns that derailed the previous bid.