Plain Talk: How Did an Effort to Decriminalize Marijuana Get Turned Into Legislation Which Increases Penalties?

Rep. Shannon Roers Jones, R-Fargo (file photo) Mike McCleary / Bismarck Tribune

State Rep. Shannon Roers Jones (R-Fargo) has spent a lot of time this legislative session pushing to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana under North Dakota law. Her original bill failed, but the issue was brought back in the state Senate in an amendment to a Department of Corrections bill.

But now that amendment has been turned into legislation which, per Roers Jones, actually increases penalties for marijuana.

House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Kim Koppelman (R-West Fargo) said the change is a “happy medium because the Legislature clearly is addressing the issue.”

“I don’t look at this as a happy medium at all,” Roers Jones said.

Also, at North Dakota State University, raising tens of millions of dollars for a football practice facility is possible. Raising a few million for badly needed repairs to a chemistry lab apparently is not. Doesn’t that reveal something not so good about our priorities in higher education?

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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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