Efforts to legalize recreational marijuana in North Dakota fell short in 2018, but proponents for the that bill have already drafted a new measure they hope to get on the ballot in 2020.

David Owen, leader of Legalize ND and Grand Forks resident, told The Forum the new measure addresses some of the concerns expressed by voters about the 2018 bill. Many voters claimed the previous bill was too vague, which was a big influence leading to it failing with a 59-to-41 percent margin.

That led to an overhaul of the proposition's writing. To get on the ballot, the measure must have a summary written by Secretary of State Al Jaeger's office and collect 13,452 valid signatures that would be validated by Jaeger's office.

Some of the proposed changes include:

  • A possession limit of two ounces of marijuana.
  • Open container of marijuana prohibited in vehicles.
  • Possession of smaller amounts of marijuana/hashish smoking paraphernalia would be allowed.
  • Sales would be limited to people 21 years of age or older.
  • A ban on growing marijuana for personal use.
  • Existing penalties would remain in place for persons driving while impaired by marijuana.
  • Selling or delivering marijuana to persons under 21 or an obviously intoxicated person would result in a Class A misdemeanor.
  • Cities would be given the option to reject and limit retail stores in their communities.
  • No person is permitted more than one ounce in their home unless secured by a lock to prevent underage problems.
  • No person could consume/smoke marijuana in a public place.
  • Workplaces could still enforce policies restricting the consumption of marijuana.
  • A three-member Marijuana Control Commission, with no political party in the majority and appointed by the governor, would oversee the supervision, licensing and be the sole regulatory authority over marijuana retail stores and manufacturers.
  • The governor may also create and appoint a Marijuana Advisory Board of no more than 10 members to make recommendations on the regulation of marijuana and accessories.
  • Sellers or stores would be required to test marijuana products to prevent contaminants and adopt health and safety rules.
  • Edible products would be allowed, but would have to be in child-resistant containers and could would prohibit designs that would make prodcuts more appealing to children.
  • Any advertising or marketing would be regulated by the commission with targeting of persons under 21 prohibited.
  • A 10 percent tax on retail products would be charged at the point of sale, with stores required to file monthly forms and payments to the state. State and local sales taxes would also be collected.
  • All tax revenue from sales would first be allocated to sustain the commission. Excess tax revenue would be allocated with 50 percent to the general fund, 10 percent to Health and Human Services for use in addiction treatment programs, 10 percent to Department of Education, 10 percent to the Legacy Fund, 10 percent to North Dakota Parks and Recreation and 10 percent to Department of Commerce for workforce development.

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