North Dakota Advocates Renew Push for Recreational Cannabis Legalization

North Dakota is gearing up for another potential ballot initiative to legalize adult-use marijuana, keeping the state in the midst of an ongoing push for comprehensive cannabis reform. A group called the New Economic Frontier recently filed a 2024 petition that could put recreational legalization before voters this November.

The proposed measure would allow adults 21 and over to legally possess and purchase cannabis products from regulated businesses across the state. Advocates must collect 15,582 valid signatures from North Dakota voters by July 8th to qualify for the ballot.

“Cannabis legalization is coming, and it’s coming fast. We’ve got a choice here – let out-of-state interests call the shots, or take the lead ourselves,” stated committee chair Steve Bakken. He touted the initiative as a “common sense” approach crafted with local input.

Proponents argue legalization aligns public safety priorities by reducing burden on the criminal justice system. It would also establish a regulated market with product testing standards and expand access for medical patients who currently lack legal cannabis options.

“I’ve personally seen how medical cannabis can help residents battling numerous conditions,” said Casey Neumann, CEO of Pure Dakota and Pure Dakota Health. “Legalizing cannabis paves the way for a more prosperous future for our state.”

The committee cited projections of $38.4 billion in U.S. cannabis sales for 2024, along with 400,000 supported jobs and new revenue streams for state programs. However, North Dakotans have previously rejected similar recreational measures in 2018 and 2022.

While the state legalized medical cannabis in 2016, lawmakers later banned home cultivation. Minnesota’s recent move to permit adult-use possession and home-grow could boost momentum for North Dakota’s latest reform effort amid shifting regional policies.

With the petition cleared for circulation, advocates face a summer signature drive to secure a spot on this year’s midterm ballot – reigniting North Dakota’s years-long debate over joining the nation’s expanding cannabis legalization movement.


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