Medical Marijuana Measure Will Be on November Ballot

News from the Secretary of State’s office this morning is that the medical marijuana ballot measure has been qualified for the November ballot.

They submitted 18,011 signatures to get their measure on the ballot. Of those 1,584 were disqualified for various reasons, but that still left them with 3,765 more signatures than was necessary for a statutory measure to qualify for the ballot.

You can read the press release and Secretary of State Al Jaeger’s letter to the measure organizers below. Note that this is not the recreational marijuana measure. This measure which will be on the ballot is a highly restrictive legalization of marijuana only for very narrowly defined medical uses (more on that in a moment).

[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]There are so many costly requirements – from geographic restrictions to growing restrictions to even a dictate on what sort of video surveillance system must be in dispensaries – that it’s hard to imagine many people being willing to go through the expense and arduous process of setting up to sell medical marijuana.[/mks_pullquote]

A separate measure which was a flat-out legalization of marijuana use for whatever reason didn’t get enough signatures by the deadline for the November ballot. They’re continuing to collect signatures, and have until March 9, 2017, to gather 13,452 signatures at which point their measure would go on the next statewide ballot.

Back to the medical marijuana measure, as I’ve written before I don’t think this will accomplish much even if voters approve it (which I’m guessing is a long shot). It’s too bureaucratic (you can read it here). There are so many costly requirements – from geographic restrictions to growing restrictions to even a dictate on what sort of video surveillance system must be in dispensaries – that it’s hard to imagine many people being willing to go through the expense and arduous process of setting up to sell medical marijuana. All the more so because they’d have to charge a lot to recoup their expenses to a public which will probably find the black market for pot both less expensive and more accessible.

After all, that seems to be what has happened in Minnesota.

I’d rather we just legalize marijuana, full stop, than put this regulatory abomination on the boos.

Especially given the estimated cost to the State of North Dakota for implementing the regulations this ballot measure would impose. The Department of Health sees the measure costing over $8 million in the first biennium alone, and requiring the hiring of 32 new state workers.

Organizers of the measure have accused the state of exaggerating the costs because they don’t want the measure to pass, but if you look at the laundry list of regulations the measure imposes I don’t think the state is exaggerating at all.

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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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