Petitioners fail to measure marijuana vote in North Dakota | News

Supporters of a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana through the North Dakota constitution have again run out of signatures to provoke a public vote.

Their deadline was January 22 to submit at least 31,164 valid signatures to the Secretary of State. They did not do it.

Member of the measure’s sponsorship committee, Dustin Peyer of Driscoll, told the Tribune on Sunday that the group had garnered 19,500 signatures within its one-year deadline.

Supporters are already forming committees to propose two future ballot measures related to the quality and accessibility of medical marijuana — which is legal in North Dakota — and the use of recreational marijuana by seniors in 21 and older, he said.

Peyer said the signature threshold “is a large number of signatures for an unpaid volunteer effort.”

“We’ve increased support across the state through a network of small businesses,” he said. “The biggest obstacle is that those who push the most are disabled, parents, business owners or generally have a lot going on in their lives.”

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The petitioners have also faced backlash in their efforts, he said.

Measure President Jody Vetter of Bismarck did not return phone messages or emails regarding the collection of signatures.

The proposed measure would have limited recreational marijuana to people 21 and older, banned its use in public, and allowed the legislature to license and regulate the industry. The measure would also have allowed home cultivation of up to 12 plants.

The effort was another blow after an unsuccessful try in 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic hampered the group’s collection of signatures.

Marijuana was a major topic in the Republican-controlled Legislature last year. State officials introduced bills to legalize and tax the drug in an effort to fend off Vetter’s group, but the Senate killed the bills passed by the House, along with a bill to decriminalize the drug. marijuana. The Senate also rejected the introduction of a measure proposal by ballot.

Two other ballot measures proposed for voters this year would limit the terms of the governor and legislature and raise the bar for amending the state constitution.

These petition deadlines are not a few months.

North Dakota voters in 2016 approved a state medical marijuana program; in 2018, they rejected recreational marijuana at 59%.

Contact Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or [email protected]

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