North Dakota recreational marijuana ballot attempt gets green light

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A North Dakota group can move forward with an attempt to put recreational marijuana on the state ballot in November after the campaign received approval from the secretary of state.

The campaign, New Economic Frontier, must gather 15,582 valid signatures by July 8 to make it on the November ballot, according to the Associated Press.

The proposed ballot measure would permit the establishment of adult-use cannabis businesses.

The ballot measure also would allow North Dakotans 21 and older to use cannabis at home and grow up to three plants per adult, with up to six plants per household.

“These limits are more conservative in comparison to the surrounding adult-use states, such as Montana and Minnesota,” according to an FAQ on the group’s website.

“This is to ensure safety is always at the forefront.”

Marijuana use in public would remain prohibited.

The full text of the ballot measure is available here.

New Economic Frontier Chair Steve Bakken, a former Bismarck mayor, “said he has never smoked marijuana and never will,” the AP reported.

“If we don’t do something now, we’re going to wind up getting something that is untenable to work with,” Bakken told the news agency.

He believes New Economic Frontier, which launched its campaign on April 16, can gather the necessary signatures in time to meet the deadline.

If not, the ballot measure could be put before voters in the next state election.

North Dakotans shot down an adult-use ballot measure in 2022, with 55% of voters opposed and, before that, in 2018 with 59% opposed.

A medical marijuana program in North Dakota was approved via a 2016 ballot measure.

The new 2024 MJBiz Factbook projects North Dakota’s medical cannabis market could be worth as much as $25 million this year.