Proponents of legalizing recreational marijuana use are about 2,500 signatures away from requirements for a measure to be placed on the November ballot.
The measure needs 13,452 valid, qualified signatures to go to a vote, according to the North Dakota Secretary of State’s office.
The petition calls for full legalization for those older than the age of 21 to use, possess, grow and distribute for any purpose, said David Owen, sponsoring committee chair. This includes natural oils and products made from the plant. And the proposal sets no limits on how much producers can grow.
It also says anyone previously convicted of a marijuana-related crime would have their records expunged 30 days after the measure’s passage or after being released from prison.
Owen said members of his group has until early July to submit signatures. They expect to have 16,000 to 20,000 signers by then.
North Dakota voters approved marijuana for medical purposes last year but a full legalization effort failed to gather enough signatures. Owen said he thinks the statewide voter approval of medical marijuana, along with an organized staff running the current petition campaign, are what could contribute to success this time around.
The delay in implementation of medical marijuana is another factor.
“The fact is people still can’t get their medicine,” he said, adding that this petition, if voted into law, would fix that.
Owen said the petition treats marijuana as if it were alcohol in the sense that there are age limits and laws against driving high.
“It’s a big deal to tax revenue,” Owen said.
Using conservative estimates, his group expects growing could result in $24,000 per acre in tax revenue from sales and