In a surprising turn of events that occurred without major backing or media coverage, Legalize ND collected more than 18,000 signatures to get North Dakota marijuana legalization petition on the ballot. They only needed 13,452.
That doesn’t mean they’re in the clear just yet for a spot on the ballot. As with every initiative, signatures have to be verified. Things are looking good, though. The North Dakota Secretary of State’s office told The Fresh Toast, “They brought in more than they needed. We’re still in the review process, but we’ll let them know on Monday. So there’s no big huge red flags right now, we’re just going through like any statewide petition.”
The lack of red flags matched with their zealous signature collection makes it look like North Dakota could be one of the next states to go green. Like Oklahoma before it, the state may be in deep red republican country, but cannabis legalization is a bipartisan issue and as reported by The Washington Post, supporters of the measure hope that criminal justice reform will be the winning talking point.
And political leanings aside, the measure itself is wide open for legislation and regulation. One of the most solid points within it is its expungement process. It calls for the state to examine current cases that would not be applicable under the new law and for the release for those who qualify. After their release, the state would have 30 days to expunge their records. This would be life-changing for a number of non-violent pot offenders who want to go back to school or obtain employment.
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The measure promises that cannabis will be 100 percent legal for adults aged 21 and over. It looks to make having a personal cannabis grow legal, to include paraphernalia as acceptable possessions, to be able to buy and sell weed both privately and via a business and that all forms of cannabis be allowed. “If it’s marijuana, it’s legal,” states the site.
It would potentially be the most progressive pot law in the land, in a state that hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964. Bipartisan or not, cannabis does tend to at least lean to the progressive side. How could it not with its rich history of grassroots measures, activism and compassionate leanings? Hopefully we’ll have a chance to see in November just how much support marijuana has in one of the states that utilizes it the least.