North Dakotans will decide whether or not to legalize this November
Recreational marijuana is on the ballot this November in North Dakota, and supporters of the initiative are proud of the conservative approach it takes. Opponents, on the other hand, are concerned that legalized recreational marijuana will skyrocket addiction rates and create a new problem in itself.
If passed, adults aged 21 and over in North Dakota will be permitted to purchase and sell recreational marijuana. The Department of Health and Human Services would be in charge of setting rules and regulations while individuals in the state would be limited to growing three plants and a certain number of THC products. Smoking marijuana in public and driving under the influence of cannabis remains illegal under the ballot initiative.
Advocates for marijuana legalization in the state look at the impact a simple possession charge has on a person in comparison to the severity of their offense. Currently, a conviction could prevent somebody from good housing, joining the military, receiving student loans, and meaningful employment.
While Measure 2 does not address past convictions, proponents argue that it is the most conservative approach to legalization across the country. A similar measure was on the ballot during the 2018 election but failed to defeat the 59% of voters in opposition.
Opponents of Measure 2 are fearful of the impacts that legalization would have on addiction rates. While it is true that nobody has overdosed from cannabis use alone, marijuana addiction rates among youths have risen by 25% across the country, according to a recent study.
Opponents of legalization fear that marijuana use serves as a gateway to harder, more addictive substances. According to the study mentioned above, 95% of heroin users used marijuana at some point in their life.
Medical marijuana was approved by voters in the state in 2016, and proponents for recreational legalization point to the fact that their safe, conservative approach has prevented many of the issues being faced in states like Nevada, for example. The option is on the ballot this November, and North Dakotans will ultimately decide the fate of recreational cannabis in the state on Tuesday, November 8th.