It’s Official: North Dakota Legalization Activists Gather Enough Signatures

LegalizeND has submitted enough signatures to qualify a marijuana legalization initiative for this November’s ballot.

Make that more than enough.

On Monday Aug 13, North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger confirmed that LegalizeND has submitted more than enough signatures to qualify a marijuana legalization initiative for this November’s ballot.

Activists submitted more than 18,000 signatures to qualify the full legalization measure. After random sampling, officials determined that 15,039 were valid, exceeding the number needed to qualify for the ballot, which is 13,452.

The initiative that will go to voters in November seeks to to legalize the use, sale, possession, and distribution of cannabis for anyone 21 years or older.

Unlike other fully legal states, North Dakota’s initiative does not place any restrictions on the number of plants a person can grow or how much cannabis they can possess. All forms of marijuana, including flower, concentrates, hash and oils, are permitted under the state’s initiative.

The initiative also creates a process for records to be expunged for individuals who were previously convicted of a crime that’s legalized by the measure.

David Owen, a University of North Dakota student who led the measure campaign, said he hasn’t used cannabis but nevertheless wants to see it legalized as a matter of criminal justice reform, per the Grand Forks Herald.

Owen argued that too many people have been incarcerated, made ineligible for student loans or paid other high prices for possessing a plant that is is far less harmful than alcohol and opioids.

“Because of a plant … they are now barred for the rest of their life from ever really achieving they could be,” he said. “And that is the real crime of the war on drugs.”

NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said in a statement: “We applaud the hard work and dedication from the campaign and countless volunteers on the ground in North Dakota who went door to door and out into their communities to gather the signatures required to put this on the ballot in November.”

North Dakota now joins Michigan on the list of states that will be voting to legalize recreational cannabis this fall, with Missouri and Utah voting on medical marijuana access.

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