Measure to legalize medical marijuana in N.D. will appear on November ballot
BISMARCK - North Dakotans will vote this fall on whether to legalize marijuana for medical use, one of five measures that will appear on the November ballot, Secretary of State Al Jaeger said Thursday.
BISMARCK – North Dakotans will vote this fall on whether to legalize marijuana for medical use, one of five measures that will appear on the November ballot, Secretary of State Al Jaeger said Thursday.
Sponsors needed 13,452 signatures to get the initiated measure, which they’ve dubbed the Compassionate Care Act, on the Nov. 8 ballot. They delivered 18,011 signatures to Jaeger on July 11, and 17,217 were accepted as qualified electors.
The measure would allow qualifying patients to possess up to 3 ounces of medical marijuana for treatment of about a dozen debilitating medical conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, AIDS and glaucoma, while allowing the state Department of Health to add more.
The department would issue ID cards for patients and regulate state-licensed dispensaries. People living more than 40 miles from the nearest dispensary could grow up to eight marijuana plants in an enclosed, locked facility after notifying law enforcement.
North Dakota House lawmakers defeated a bill last year to legalize medical marijuana.
The Health Department has estimated that the measure would require adding 32 full-time employees and cost $8.7 million to administer in the first biennium – figures the measure’s lead sponsor has criticized as fearmongering designed to make voters think the state can't afford it.
Since California voters first approved medical marijuana in 1996, 24 more states and the District of Columbia have enacted similar laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Sponsors of a separate measure to fully legalize marijuana didn’t collect the required signatures by the deadline for the Nov. 8 ballot but said they’ll shoot for the June 2018 ballot.
Jaeger said he will release the numbering of the five ballot measures Friday. The other measures propose raising the state’s tobacco tax, expanding crime victims’ rights, prohibiting lawmakers from serving in the Legislature unless they live in the district where they were elected and allowing excess money in the state’s Foundation Aid Stabilization Fund to be used for education purposes other than offsetting budget cuts.