ND Lawmakers Want to Study Full-on Marijuana Legalizaton

Two Democratic lawmakers – Rep. Marvin Nelson of Rolla and Rep. Josh Boschee of Fargo – have introduced HCR3007 (read it below) which asks that Legislative Management consider studying the legalization of marijuana and report back to the Legislature.

It’s a good step. As we learned during the 2016 election cycle, North Dakotans have more of an appetite for legalizing marijuana than many (including this observer) would have guessed.

Almost 64 percent of voters cast their ballots in favor of legalizing medical marijuana back in November. Which indicates that there may be majority support for full-on legalization as well.

Frankly, I wish we could get to full legalization more quickly. The medical marijuana measure is a bureaucratic nightmare. A shining example of the stupidity of legislating at the ballot box. Already Republican and Democratic legislative leaders have proposed legislation (SB2154) to delay its enactment until later this year, giving them some time to work through the spider web of nonsensical and often contradictory requirements in the measure approved by voters.

If lawmakers could pass legislation this session for a blanket legalization of marijuana use that rigmarole might not be necessary. Plus ending marijuana prohibition would be a good way for lawmakers to address issues such as budget shortfalls and jail/prison overcrowding.

Alas, this is probably a pipe dream. While the public might be ready for the legalization of marijuana given the vote in November (though that’s by no means a certainty), the Legislature definitely is not.

Which means a study of this sort, to gather facts and figures, is necessary to make the case.

Not all of these studies actually happen even if passed by the Legislature. There are two types of studies, some mandatory and some merely requested. This resolution, as written, is the latter sort.

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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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