by David Owen, Chairman of Legalize North Dakota
What Measure 3 does is rather simple. It removes marijuana from the list of Schedule 1 Substances, and as a result, legalizes it for personal consumption, use, distribution, and possession for all North Dakotans over the age of 21. Additionally, it seals previous records so long as they were of age, did not distribute to minors, and were non-violent. Lastly, it legalizes hemp for full-scale agricultural production, a crop which per bushel is worth 9 to 11 times that of wheat depending on the commodity prices, while taxing both marijuana and hemp at an effective rate of between 8-14% (depending on your local city sales tax).
So, what does this really mean for the average North Dakotan and their community?
1. Starting December 6, adults will no longer be torn away from their families for simple possession, breaking apart families and creating dependents on the state rather than contributors. College students will no longer risk losing their student loans or the ability to ever find employment for daring to go to a party with friends.
2. Starting December 6, thousands, if not tens of thousands suffering from PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other conditions not covered by our medical marijuana law will be able to get proven life-saving medicine. As it stands, North Dakota politicians have in altering the medical bill denied veterans the best medicine for their condition indefinitely.
3. Starting December 6, tax revenue will increase as many new entrepreneurs will open up businesses and serve their communities. The illegal market for marijuana will cease to exist as shady drug dealers are replaced by reputable members of your community, and they will all pay taxes according to the fiscal impacts report released by the state of North Dakota.
4. Starting December 6t, farmers will be able to actually plan to grow hemp in North Dakota, and for 2019 will have access to a cash crop which outperforms wheat 10:1, if they choose to grow marijuana itself, the benefits are potentially even greater. Based on Colorado wholesale prices, 1 acre of marijuana could provide a farmer with more revenue than 400 acres of corn.
5. Starting January 6, records of non-violent marijuana offenders who did not deal to children will be sealed. This means we can start to reintegrate people into a society that has legalized marijuana, and allow them greater opportunities to find employment, procure student loans, or even find basic housing. As it sits, 170,000+ records need to be sealed, which means for every 4 people in ND there is roughly 1 record for marijuana hurting someone in your community.
What this doesn’t mean:
1. DUI’s will not be legal. Attorneys Alicia Dearn (multi-time award winner licensed to practice federal law in all 50 states), Nicholas Sarwark (Former Deputy Public Defender of Colorado), and Jordan Parker agree: a fair reading of Measure 3 does not legalize DUI.
2. Smoking in schools or in public will not be legal. When vaping and e-cigarettes were made legal, public smoking bans were ruled to apply to them. Similarly, marijuana smoking in public will have the existing bans applied.
3.) Crime will not rise. In states that have legalized, crime has stayed consistently lower than pre-legalization, and in many cases has dropped slightly.
Last, but not least, we would like to dispute the fact that this is “the most liberal marijuana law.” Measure 3 has received support from some of the strongest conservative voices in the state including:
1.) Tony Gehrig (Fargo City Commissioner and staunch conservative)
2.) Rick Becker (District 7 State Legislator which is in Bismarck, Republican)
3.) The North Dakota Liberty PAC (which has endorsed multiple republican candidates)
4.) And countless everyday North Dakota Republicans
Thank you for voting YES on Measure 3 in North Dakota this November 6!