The Medical Marijuana Ballot Measure Was a Bureaucratic Nightmare and Needed to Be Fixed

medical marijuana

There is much gnashing of teeth over the Legislature’s bi-partisan bill to fix the medical marijuana atrocity voters approved on the November ballot.

I call it an atrocity not because I’m against legalizing medical marijuana – if I had my way I’d even legalize recreational marijuana – but because the manner in which the measure went about legalization is very, very stupid.¬†I wrote about the specifics back in July, but suffice it to say that if lawmakers allowed the measure to become law in its current form most North Dakotans who wanted to access marijuana to treat whatever maladies they suffer from would probably find the black market, and its attendant legal risks, both cheaper and easier.

I’m not kidding. The fixes the Legislature is proposing in SB2344 aren’t terrible. What’s more, they have bi-partisan backing. The Majority/Minority leaders for the Republicans and Democrats are the sponsors of the bill.

The aforementioned gnashing of teeth seems born more of some myopic regard for direct democracy, and a partisan desire to paint a Republican-dominated legislative body as disrespecting the will of the people, than any rational analysis of the situation.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]If there were any justice in the world the Legislature would let stand the nightmare voters approved at the ballot box as a shining example of the stupidity of creating law at the ballot box. But our state has a better class of public servant than that.[/mks_pullquote]

Yes, the people voted for medical marijuana, but how many of them were aware of the specific way in which the ballot measure implemented that access?

There is much being made of the fact that SB2344 is an 81 page bill (see it below), but it’s worth noting that the original ballot measure was nearly 40 pages¬†long. Many of the pages in the bill before the legislature are cross-outs and amendments to that original policy.

North Dakotans voted for medical marijuana. They’re going to get medical marijuana. Maybe it bruises the egos of the medical marijuana activists that the byzantine maze they created for accessing the stuff is being replaced with something else by lawmakers.

Well, tough. This isn’t about ego. This is about workable public policy which serves the expressed goals of the people, which in this case is legal access to marijuana for medical reasons.

If there were any justice in the world the Legislature would let stand the nightmare voters approved at the ballot box as a shining example of the stupidity of creating law at the ballot box. But our state has a better class of public servant than that.

The politically easy thing to do would be for them to just leave this alone. But they’re going to do the hard thing, which is fix this bill amid aspersions cast by cranks looking to whip up resentment from the lightly informed.

They’re going to fix this law, like the responsible adults they are, even over the caterwauling of certain cranks motivated by rank political considerations and handicapped by a less than thorough understanding of how good policy is made.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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