North Dakota Medical Marijuana Campaign Turns In Signatures
The first-ever ballot initiative dealing with medical marijuana in North Dakota has taken a step forward. On Monday, more than 20,000 signatures were delivered to North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger by North Dakotans for Compassionate Care — well above the 13,500 required to qualify the initiative for November’s ballot. Jaeger will have approximately one month to review the signatures and certify the initiative for the ballot.
The proposed law would allow patients to grow and possess limited amounts of marijuana. Qualifying medical conditions would include cancer, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other serious illnesses. Marijuana dispensaries would also be licensed and subject to regulation by the North Dakota Health Department.
While neighboring Montana currently allows medicinal marijuana under the 2009 Medical Marijuana Act, South Dakota voters rejected similar ballot initiatives in recent years, with 52 percent opposed in 2006 and 63 percent voting against it in 2010.
Dave Schwartz, campaign director for the advocacy group, commented however that attitudes have shifted recently in favor of medical marijuana as many people have had personal contact with someone who has or could have benefited from marijuana’s pain-relieving and anti-nausea effects. “[One] of the myths that we often hear is that this is only for people to just go ahead and get high, and that’s not the case,” Schwartz said. “This is about medical patients who would benefit greatly from it.”
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