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House votes for 'adult' recreational marijuana, and a plan to tax it

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The House has voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana by adults.

The bill only allows the already-established “compassion centers” to sell marijuana, and the two "grow centers" for medical marijuana would be allowed to grow it. People would not be allowed to grow their own. Smoking marijuana would also not be allowed in public.

Rep. Todd Porter (R-Mandan) told the House he likes this approach better that measures to “decriminalize” marijuana possession – because of those controls in place.

"You aren't going to get a parking ticket walking down Main Street, smoking a joint," Porter told the House. "You're going to pick the stuff up, in a controlled environment, and you're going to take it to your home. You're not going to be sitting down in Riverside Park, smoking weed."

Rep. Bill Tveit (R-Hazen) still didn’t like it.

"If it's not good for teens, what makes it good and safe for adults?" Tveit said.

The bill passed 56 to 38. It will now go to the Senate for further consideration.

Taxing recreational marijuana

The House has passed a measure to levy taxes on recreational marijuana.

It taxes both the manufacturing and the sale of the weed. And It would take effect if the recreational marijuana measure becomes law.

The measure levies a 15 percent tax on all gross receipts at the dispensaries. Manufacturing facilities would be taxed at 10 percent.

"We know that prohibition hasn't worked," said Rep. Craig Headland (R-Montpelier). "We know that there's a lot of North Dakota citizens using black market marijuana today."

Headland said there are problems associated with that.

"This is going to provide us a revenue stream, that'll help us deal with some of the impacts of recreational use of marijuana," Headland said.

The bill passed 73 to 21. It now will be considered in the Senate.

Legalize ND reax

The chairman of the group that has been trying to legalize recreational marijuana said he's "cautiously optimistic" about legalization, now that the House has passed the measure.

But David Owen said it's not yet a done deal.

"The approach I've learned is to be pessimistic, but also realistic," Owen said in an interview with KFGO of Fargo.

Owen said the House vote was "pretty good."

"Do I think it's going to get 30 votes in the Senate? No," Owen said. "Do I think it has a chance? Yes."

Owen said he's concerned how the bill will be coming out of the Senate committee.

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