North Dakota Measure 3 - Marijuana Legalization and Automatic Expungement
Initiative (2018)

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North Dakota Measure 3, the Marijuana Legalization and Automatic Expungement Initiative, is on the ballot in North Dakota as an initiated state statute on November 6, 2018.

  A yes vote supports the ballot initiative to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the state of North Dakota for people 21 years of age or older and create an automatic expungement process for individuals with convictions for a controlled substance that has been legalized.
  A no vote opposes the ballot initiative to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the state of North Dakota for people 21 years of age or older and create an automatic expungement process for individuals with convictions for a controlled substance that has been legalized.

Overview

What would Measure 3 do?

Measure 3 was designed to do the following:

  • Legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the state of North Dakota for people 21 years of age or older;
  • Create penalties for the possession or distribution to or by any individuals under 21 years of age;
  • Create an automatic expungement process for individuals with convictions for a controlled substance that has been legalized; and
  • Eliminate the state of North Dakota's immunity from damages resulting from expungement lawsuits.

Support and opposition campaigns

Legalize ND and Legalize North Dakota. Legalize North Dakota had not reported any campaign finance activity. Legalize ND had raised $32,418 and had spent $18,990. The top donors to Legalize ND were Rick Steves (5,803); Martin Riske ($5,200); NORML ($2,538); Eric Olsen ($2,000); and Mike Kistler ($1,065).

Two committees, North Dakotans Against the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana and Healthy and Productive North Dakota registered in opposition to the measure. As of October 8, 2018, Healthy and Productive North Dakota had not filed the pre-general report due on October 5, 2018, but had reported contributions of $56,078 from SAM Action, Inc. North Dakotans Against the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana had raised $58,000 and spent $38,500. The largest donors include the Greater North Dakota Chamber ($30,000), North Dakota Retail Association ($10,000) and the North Dakota Motor Carriers Association ($5,000).

Legal status of marijuana in North Dakota

In North Dakota, the possession and use of marijuana for recreational purposes is illegal. Voters approved a ballot initiative, the North Dakota Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as Initiated Statutory Measure 5, in 2016 to allow medical marijuana treatment for patients with debilitating medical conditions such as cancer, AIDS, hepatitis C, ALS, glaucoma, and epilepsy. It was approved by a vote of 63.79 percent to 36.21 percent. A similar measure failed to reach the North Dakota ballot in 2012 after thousands of signatures were determined to be fraudulent.[3]

As of 2018, both medical and recreational marijuana are illegal under federal law. However, the Department of Justice (DOJ) under Presidents Trump (R) and Obama (D) have not prosecuted most individuals and businesses following state and local marijuana laws. On January 4, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) rescinded guidelines, known as the Cole Memo, that deprioritized the enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states where marijuana had been legalized. The DOJ issued the Cole Memo in 2013, following the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington. Sessions' DOJ authorized U.S. Attorneys to decide which marijuana crimes to prosecute and directed them to consider "federal law enforcement priorities, the seriousness of the crime, the deterrent effect of criminal prosecution, and the cumulative impact of particular crimes on [communitites]." In April 2018, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R) said President Trump told him that "the Department of Justice's rescission of the Cole memo will not impact Colorado's legal marijuana industry." Gardner also said, "Furthermore, President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states' rights issue once and for all."

2018 marijuana legalization initiatives

The Michigan Marijuana Legalization Initiative is also on the ballot in Michigan as an indirect initiated state statute on November 6, 2018. The measure was designed to allow adults aged 21 years or older to possess and use marijuana for recreational purposes. Voters in Oklahoma approved a medical marijuana initiative earlier this year, and voters in Missouri and Utah will also decide medical marijuana initiatives in November 2018, with three different competing against eachother on the ballot in Missouri.

Source: North Dakota Measure 3, Marijuana Legalization and Automatic Expungement Initiative (2018) - Ballotpedia