Plain Talk: Lawmaker Says Push to Decriminalize Marijuana Isn’t Dead Yet

Rep. Shannon Roers Jones, R-Fargo Mike McCleary / Bismarck Tribune

The North Dakota Legislature has a tradition of giving every bill introduced, at the very least, a committee hearing and a floor vote in the chamber in which it was introduced. A bill to decriminalize marijuana introduced by state Rep. Shannon Roers Jones (R-Fargo) did get those things, but on this episode of Plain Talk she says the process wasn’t quite the same as other bills.

It was the “only bill that came out of our committee that was limited on time,” Roers Jones said. She added that while other legislation got hours of testimony from supporters and opponents, her bill was limited to just fifteen minutes for each side.

“I was surprised,” Roers Jones said of the process, adding that it “complicated our ability to get the bill out and get it passed.”

Asked if House Judiciary Committee Chairman Kim Koppelman (R-West Fargo) was motivated by animus toward her legislation, Roers Jones said “that’s the way it felt” but added that she “can’t speak to his motivation.”

When the bill failed in a vote just before the Legislature’s crossover break a procedural maneuver was put in place to prohibit it from being reconsidered later in the session, but Roers Jones says there’s a possibility the issue could come back as a part of another bill.

That’s “yet to be seen” she said. “I don’t want to say we can do it. We are looking for an opportunity.”

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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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