Two voter initiatives are on the ballot in North Dakota, and if Statutory Measure 2 is approved, adults over the age of 21 will be able to possess up to an ounce of cannabis and grow no more than three cannabis plants in their homes.
The bill would limit the number of growth operations to seven and retail outlets to no more than eighteen by October 1, 2023, and it would also require the state health department to establish industry standards.
Voters in North Dakota approved medical cannabis in 2016, but in 2018, they overwhelmingly defeated a measure to legalize the drug for recreational use.
However, proponents like Republican state representative Matthew Ruby of Minot argue that cannabis legalization can be justified on “conservative” grounds, such as a compromise between individual liberty and the responsible implementation of certain limits on that liberty.
He said that some of the political “heavy hitters” who actively opposed the measure in 2018—including state law enforcement and business groups—are still opposed, but are taking a more passive stance this time around, choosing to “kind of hang out” on the sidelines rather than pouring resources into an opposition campaign.
Meanwhile, the Grand Forks Herald editorial board strongly supported Measure 2.
Ruby told MJBizDaily, “That’s something we’ve never had before.” He went on to acknowledge that the contest is going to be close.
Dark money, familiar foes
Kristie Spooner, a resident of Tappen, North Dakota, is the chairwoman of the official opposition campaign, Healthy and Productive North Dakota, even though other powerful pro-business and law enforcement groups have spoken out against the proposal.
Spooner has ignored our calls and emails asking for comment.
On the other hand, a well-known political action organization in Colorado called Protect Our Kids has given her a financial boost of $2,500 so far, as shown by disclosures made in her campaign’s financial filings.
Luke Niforatos, executive vice president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, one of the country’s most vocal proponents of marijuana prohibition, serves as the registered agent for that group.
Spooner and Niforatos warned in interviews with other media that legalization will increase youth usage, lead to additional road deaths, and exacerbate the current mental health problem.
Concurrently, there has been a deluge of media commercials heard on the radio and seen on Facebook over the past month, all of which are being funded by a shadowy organization.
For its efforts to defeat Measure 2, the Bismarck-based Brighter Future Alliance has spent a total of $133,367.46, the vast majority of which went toward advertising.
Conducted a mobile phone conversation with him On Tuesday, Brighter Future’s chairman Pat Finken asked MJBizDaily to email him with questions.
A pro-cannabis state politician named Ruby dismissed Finken’s arguments as the same tired “tried and true talking points” she’d heard before from the likes of Spooner and Niforatos and others whenever the topic of legalization came up.
One unique aspect of North Dakota’s labor shortfall is the higher number of applicants who fail a drug test.
Nevertheless, according to Jared Moffat, MPP’s state campaigns manager, the old way of thinking could easily block vital future reform, such as banking and taxation, which is now delayed in Congress due to a lack of support in the U.S.
The consequences for the country are “enormous,” Moffat added. As two Republican senators represent North Dakota in Washington, their opinions carry weight (Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven).
If legalization passes in North Dakota, opponents will have no excuse to claim that it is a partisan issue. That bill won’t pass in North Dakota because there aren’t enough Democrats there.
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