The North Dakota Capitol building.

Matt Turner

North Dakota Advocates Launch Rec. Petition Bid

Advocates in North Dakota are finalizing their draft of a ballot proposal to legalize recreational cannabis use for adults 21-and-older hoping to gather enough signatures to bring the issue to voters during the 2018 midterm elections, the Bismarck Tribune reports.

The drive is spearheaded by Dave Owen, a college student from Grand Forks, who said the group is working with lawyers to ensure the plan doesn’t run into the same problems as medical cannabis, wherein lawmakers this session moved to clean up language they found unworkable.

“North Dakota’s ready for recreational marijuana,” Owen said in the report. “We have to make sure we have an ironclad petition.”

Last year, a separate group made a similar push but did not gather enough signatures for the issue to appear on General Election ballots. In addition to creating a recreational cannabis industry, the new proposal will also include language to expunge low-level, non-violent cannabis charges from criminal records.

“We’re wanting to ensure non-violent offenders with pot charges don’t have … records and can’t get jobs,” Owen said.

Petitioners will have one year from the day the petition is approved to gather a qualifying number of signatures. Owens indicated he plans on submitting the proposal to the Secretary of State’s office in the fall.

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