Plain Talk: Activist Says ND Legislature Has Shown “No Interest in Having an Adult Conversation About Marijuana”


David Owen of Grand Forks is the chairman of Legalize ND, the group behind Measure 3. If approved by voters, the measure would legalize recreational marijuana in North Dakota. David Samson / The Forum

On this episode of Plain Talk, marijuana activist David Owen says the Legislature killing a decriminalization bill was “shameful” because of the way it was done.

“The civil asset forfeiture bill was given five hours” of time for testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Owen told me. “We got 15 minutes.”

“To give a bill like this only one hearing, it’s shameful,” he added.

[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]”To give a bill like this only one hearing, it’s shameful,” he added.[/mks_pullquote]

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Shannon Roers Jones (R-Fargo) has also been critical of the process used on the legislation.

“We know we’re going to now,” Owen said when asked if he would be pursuing another ballot measure to legalize marijuana in North Dakota, adding that his group probably wouldn’t have if the Legislature had acted. “We had decided not to renew the domain,” he said, referring to the website his campaign used in 2018.

“They showed they have no interest in having an adult conversation about marijuana,” Owen said of lawmakers.

According to Owen, a new ballot measure would be different from the 2018 version. He said it would have limits on growing and possessing marijuana as well as an excise tax. He also said it wouldn’t deal with expunging records for past marijuana convictions.

Also, lots of people are complaining about smaller tax refunds, but most of them also paid less in federal income taxes in 2018. Wasn’t that the point? Do these people not understand how the federal income tax works? And wouldn’t it be better if we all just got a bill in the mail for our share of the government?

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