BISMARCK — A citizen group resubmitted a proposal seeking to legalize marijuana in North Dakota Friday, July 12.
The proposal would amend the state's constitution to allow people who are at least 21 years old to possess and grow up to 12 cannabis plants for personal use. It calls on the Legislature to write laws to license and regulate the manufacturing, packaging and selling of marijuana products.
Supporters would need 26,904 signatures to get a measure on the ballot, and they're aiming for the June 2020 primary election. Secretary of State Al Jaeger's office said Friday it would review the petition before approving it for circulation.
The sponsoring committee's chairperson, Jody Vetter of Bismarck, said the petition's backers would benefit medically from using marijuana but have found the state's existing medical marijuana system to be too "restrictive" because it doesn't allow people to grow their own plants or use edibles. Voters approved medical marijuana in 2016, but the Legislature later rewrote the law.
The new legalization proposal represents a rewrite of previous language submitted to state election officials that was quickly withdrawn. Vetter, who owns a sewer and drain cleaning company with her husband, said the new language was written to be more palatable to voters.
John Bailey of Courtenay, N.D., who chaired the sponsoring committee that submitted the prior language, said he wasn't sure if he'd vote for the new proposal because it places plant limits in the state constitution.
Another group, Legalize ND, is preparing a separate statutory ballot measure legalizing marijuana after voters turned down its efforts last year. Legalize ND Chairman David Owen didn't foresee any complications from having two marijuana petitions circulating.