Medical marijuana petitions to begin circulation
BISMARCK -- Backers of a proposed medical marijuana ballot measure can begin gathering signatures Monday following approval of petition language by the North Dakota Secretary of State.Secretary of State Al Jaeger informed the media by email late ...
BISMARCK - Backers of a proposed medical marijuana ballot measure can begin gathering signatures Monday following approval of petition language by the North Dakota Secretary of State.
Secretary of State Al Jaeger informed the media by email late Monday afternoon that the petition language had been approved.
Members of the North Dakota Committee for Medical Marijuana had their petition rejected in late October due to incomplete paperwork. The petition was resubmitted in November.
“We’re obviously quite pleased,” said Rilie Ray Morgan, chairman of the North Dakota Committee for Medical Marijuana. “The next step is … we’re going to try and get some meetings organized in Fargo and Bismarck.”
The purpose of the meetings will be to organize supporters and educate them on the petition circulation process to avoid any problems. He said he hopes to have petitions circulated by the end of the week.
As a statutory initiated measure, members of the North Dakota Committee for Medical Marijuana will need at least 13,452 legitimate signatures from residents to get the initiative on the ballot in 2016.
To appear on the June 14 primary ballot, the deadline for signatures is midnight on Feb. 15; to appear on the Nov. 8 general election ballot, the deadline for turning in signatures is midnight on July 11.
Morgan said the group plans to get the measure on the November ballot.
“I just want to take things slow. We need to make sure we have all our ducks in a row,” Morgan said.
If passed, the measure would allow people to have up to 3 ounces of medical marijuana for treatment for nearly a dozen medical conditions. Facilities for medical marijuana distribution would be licensed by the state Health Department and be operated by nonprofit organizations. Those who live more than 40 miles from a licensed facility would be able to grow up to eight marijuana plants after providing notification to law enforcement as long as they’re grown in an enclosed facility.
Morgan is a financial adviser from Fargo who lives with chronic back pain. He says medical marijuana should be an acceptable alternative to other medications for serious conditions such as his. Morgan previously said the goal is to try for at least 15,000 signatures.
A 2012 medical marijuana initiative was rejected from being placed on the ballot following the submission of thousands of fraudulent signatures by paid petition circulators, including several North Dakota State University football players.
Information on ballot measures can be found at the ballot measures link on the secretary of state’s website at sos.nd.gov.