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North Dakota Lawmakers to Study Legalization

Expecting another 2020 ballot initiative legalization bid, lawmakers in North Dakota plan to study the implications of adult-use cannabis regulations in the event voters there decide to embrace reform.

Full story after the jump.

Lawmakers in North Dakota have moved to study the implications of recreational cannabis legalization as they expect advocates to move forward with another ballot initiative, the Williston Herald reports. North Dakotans did vote on legalization in 2018; the initiative, however, was soundly defeated 59-41 percent.

The legislative study would examine both sides of legalization and Democratic Rep. Karla Rose Hanson said the study would allow lawmakers to be “proactive” if voters were to approve legalization.

“I think of zoning. I think of tax revenue. We have a human services role and we have law enforcement and the criminal justice system. And then, of course, we already have the medical marijuana program.” — Rep. Karla Rose Hanson, via the Bismarck Tribune

There are at least two potential initiatives seeking to make it to voters in the state next year. One group, led by John Bailey, is proposing a constitutional amendment for the reforms. He has already submitted one version of the initiative to the Secretary of State but rescinded it for language changes, according to the Tribune report.

Legalize ND is also hoping to put their version to voters, which would be similar to the measure rejected last year. In their statement following the failed 2018 bid, the group indicated they would re-try in 2020.

The legislative study will be assigned to a committee on June 10. There is no timeline for a report to be released.

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