North Dakota’s Senate could revive the question of legalizing recreational marijuana, but through a ballot measure put to voters — one of potentially three that could appear next year.
The chamber last week soundly defeated a bill to legalize but restrict the drug for recreational use. The 50-page bill, which passed the House, came as an effort by lawmakers to head off a proposed citizen-initiated measure to legalize marijuana through the state constitution, as South Dakota voters did in 2020. Montana voters also approved recreational marijuana last year.
The Senate Delayed Bills Committee on Tuesday approved 3-2 the introduction of a constitutional resolution by Sen. Dick Dever, R-Bismarck, for a June 2022 measure. The five-member panel considers whether to allow the introduction of legislation beyond introduction deadlines.
The proposed measure will get a hearing likely before the Senate Human Services Committee, which will make a recommendation on passage before a vote of the chamber. The House and Senate both would have to approve sending the measure to voters.
“Let’s find out if the people really want it,” said Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson. “That’s the bottom line. We don’t know if the people really want it, or is it just a loud group?” [Read more at The Bismarck Tribune]