Measure 3 opponent: I will support a decriminalization bill for small amounts of marijuana

Oct 31, 2018

Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Former district judge Bob Wefald – one of the spokespeople against the measure to legalize recreational marijuana – says he would support legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot.

State Rep. Shannon Roers-Jones (R-Fargo) recently said she would introduce such a bill, if measure 3 is defeated.

"It would be small amounts of marijuana," Wefald said at a Bismarck news conference. "Not truckloads."

Wefald said he's especially concerned about young people who have experimented with marijuana.

"No sense wrecking their lives with it," Wefald said.

And Wefald said he would be open to some kind of expungement of convictions for people who have been arrested for possession.

'There's got to be some process worked out, where people who have had these convictions can come back and either get a pardon, or some sort of expungement."

Wefald said it will take the collective wisdom of the state Legislature to come up with a proper answer.

"All of us who are really death on marijuana -- we need to put our thinking caps on and say, 'Look -- we may be death on marijuana, but we have to decriminalize it," Wefald said. "We need to get ahead of this problem."

Decriminalization of marijuana possession was discussed in previous sessions, partly as a way to reduce prison overcrowding.

The news conference was called by another group opposing the measure, called "Healthy and Productive North Dakota Against Measure 3." That group announced mailers, billboards and radio ads, as part of its final "voter education" effort.

"Increased substance use, more impaired drivers, and marketing of edibles to children -- is that what we really want here in North Dakota?" said group chair Kristie Spooner.

Wefald is a spokesperson for the other organization, "North Dakotans Against the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana." He said his organization doesn't have money for advertising.

"Nevertheless, I believe we are doing a credible job," Wefald said. "I think we are going to defeat Measure 3."

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