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On 4/20, Legalize ND educates public on recreational marijuana

April 20th is a widely recognized celebration of marijuana - and on 4/20, the representatives from Legalize ND are hoping to educate North Dakotans on their work to legalize recreational marijuana in the state.

Josh Dryer is campaign manager for Legalize ND.

"It's safer than cigarettes, it's safer than alcohol. The fact that those two items can kill you but are still regulated and legal only  proves that this plant should definitely be legal. There's no recorded deaths from just straight marijuana overdose. Studies have shown it's completely safer than alcohol - you're not going to damage your body with this."

Dryer says a few years ago, voters in North Dakota may not have been ready to approve recreational marijuana. But in 2016 voters passed a medical marijuana measure by nearly 64 percent. Dryer says the legislative difficulties in enacting that law has many constituents frustrated - and he says he's confident voters may approve recreational marijuana. He says the recreational initiative was written with that in mind.

"One of the steps we took in that was to not create new government, bigger government or new divisions that appropriations would have to find funds for. We don't dictate any regulation, hardly. It's really written to pass and give legislators a chance to do something productive with the bill and not try to decimate it."

Dryer says the initiative needs about 13,500 signatures in order to be placed on this year's November ballot. So far he says they have about 11,000, and they are working to gather well over what is required. He says once signatures are gathered, volunteers will continue to canvas and help garner support for the campaign. Nine states have already approved marijuana for recreational use - and Dryer says it should have been widely approved long before now.

"In 1972, Nixon commissioned the Shafer Report - and that involved the attorney general and the surgeon general to study marijuana. It was the last government study done on this level. Everything that was in that study basically says what we know now, and right on the report itself it said, 'Pass for Legalization.' Nixon threw it right into the trash can - didn't even read it."

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