Adult-Use Marijuana Measure Submitted By North Dakota Advocates For 2020 Election


An initiated measure to legalize recreational marijuana for adults in North Dakota has been submitted to state leaders for approval.

North Dakota residents could have the chance to vote on legalizing recreational cannabis in 2020. On Dec. 5 cannabis advocates submitted an initiated measure to North Dakota’s Secretary of State, Al Jaeger, for review.

Legalize ND, the grassroots organization behind the measure, will now wait for Jaeger to review the petition and send it on to the state’s attorney general for approval. During a Dec. 4 KFGO interview, Legalize ND’s lead organizer David Owen stated how important the initiative is for criminal justice reform in North Dakota.

“We currently have a system where people are unable to find a job because of a criminal record. We have a system where people are continuing to get marijuana charges and lose their housing. We have families being separated because of parents losing custody of their children for marijuana charges,” Owen said.

“That all stops when this is legalized.”

Legalize ND submitted a legalization initiative measure in 2018, but it was rejected by voters. This time around, Legalize ND’s leaders said they spent nearly one year working on the measure’s language and feel confident it will be approved by voters.

“One of the largest complaints from last time was the mantra of ‘poorly written,’” Owen told Marijuana Moment. “They targeted the lack of legal experience from our team and they targeted a lack of ‘qualified lawyers’ to be drafting language that would go into the state’s statutory law.”

Highlights of ND’s Proposed 2020 Ballot Cannabis Measure

The measure written by Legalize ND proposes the following:

  • Adults 21 years of age and older may possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana.
  • Cannabis consumption may not take place in public places.
  • Cities maintain control over bans or limits of cannabis retail shops.
  • Bans home cultivation of adult-use cannabis.
  • Expunges low-level cannabis and paraphernalia possession charges from criminal records.
  • Establishes a 10 percent excise tax, in addition to state and local tax, to cover commission costs. Allocates the remaining tax revenue to the state’s general fund and other state programs including health and drug rehabilitation facilities and education.

Find the full measure summary, here.

Next for the Measure

Owen said it will be a short turn-around time for the initiative to be approved and the petition process to begin. Once approved by the attorney general, Legalize ND will need at least 13,452 signatures to move the measure forward for voters.

If the group can submit enough signatures to the secretary of state by Feb. 10, the measure will appear on the Nov. 2020 Primary Election ballot. If they do not gather enough by that deadline, there will be a chance to submit enough signatures by July 6 to appear on the 2020 General Election ballot.

Marijuana Legalization News

North Dakota lawmakers decriminalized simple possession of marijuana earlier this year. In the 2016 election, North Dakota voters approved a medical marijuana initiative, North Dakota Compassionate Care Act. Learn more about North Dakota’s marijuana laws.

Check back in at our news page to follow the progress of North Dakota’s adult-use initiative. You can also find the latest reports on cannabis policy, business, and scientific research on our cannabis news site.


EDITOR UPDATE 12/17/2019: North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger on Monday, December 16 said he approved the recreational marijuana petition format and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem approved the petition title. The group Legalize ND can now begin to collect signatures to place the measure on either the June primary ballot of the November general election ballot.