Marijuana supporters in the deep red state of North Dakota have submitted more than 18,000 signatures in hopes of legalizing recreational cannabis.
The signatures submitted is already above the 13,452 mark needed to put the question on a November ballot. The signatures were submitted to North Dakota’s secretary of state, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
The news about North Dakota, a deep-red state which hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964, comes after Oklahoma, a Conservative bastion, became the 30th US state in legalizing medical marijuana.
The North Dakota bill, as written by supporters, would legalize the possession, sale and use of marijuana for North Dakotans 21 and older.
The bill would also clear past marijuana charges from North Dakotans’ criminal records.
Medical cannabis has been legal in North Dakota since 2016.
Bill with a lot of open questions
The bill has been criticized for leaving a lot of open questions, the Washington Post reported. It doesn’t place any limits on possession and doesn’t set up any sort of regulatory structure for the sales it would allow.
However, backers of the bill say there is a reason for that.
“We leave our bill wide open so the legislature can do their job — regulations, taxes, zoning, whatever,” said Cole Haymond, an adviser to the Legalize ND campaign.
“This bill is by far the most progressive yet most conservative marijuana legalization bill that will be on any ballot across the country.”
Marijuana in North Dakota
In its 2016 report, the federal National Survey on Drug Use and Health said North Dakota has one of the lowest rates of marijuana use in the United States.
Less than 10 percent of North Dakotans used marijuana in 2016, making their state the 47th among the 50 states plus the District of Columbia – the lowest – for cannabis use.