North Dakota recreational cannabis legalization campaign launches

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North Dakota voters could see a “consumer-friendly, yet highly regulated” recreational cannabis legalization proposal on their November ballots.

Only limited business opportunities would be available if the ballot initiative campaign that submitted initial paperwork to the secretary of state on Tuesday is successful, according to the North Dakota Monitor.

If the petition is approved for circulation, organizers would need to collect 16,000 valid signatures by July 8 to qualify for the ballot.

State voters rejected adult-use legalization in 2022 by a margin of 55%-45%.

Organizers include a former mayor of Bismarck, the state’s capital and second-most-populous city, as well as executives from medical marijuana businesses active in North Dakota.

If passed, the proposed measure would require the state to “implement” sales by Oct. 1, 2025, while imposing relatively strict license caps and possession limits, including

  • 18 marijuana stores.
  • 7 manufacturing facilities.

There are also limits on vertical integration and ownership.

No one business or individual can own:

  • More than one manufacturing facility.
  • More than four stores.
  • More than one store within 20 miles of another retailer.

The proposal would allow existing “registered compassion centers” currently dispensing medical marijuana to convert to adult use.

New entrants would have to pay a $5,000 application fee, plus registration fees of “no more” than $90,000 for a store and $110,000 for a manufacturing facility.

Adult-use cannabis is legal in bordering Minnesota and Montana.

MMJ sales in North Dakota totaled more than $21.6 million through last October, according to Grand Forks radio station KNOX.

Meanwhile, the number of registered patients in the state increased to just under 10,000 this year, Bismarck TV station KXNET reported, up from 9,596 as of June 30.