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Backers of a marijuana legalization initiative hope to have enough signatures for the November ballot

Legal Colorado marijuana grow
Brett Adam Levin
Legal Colorado marijuana grow

The chairman of the sponsoring committee for the marijuana initiative in North Dakota is hoping to get the 15,582 signatures quickly to get the measure on this year’s general election ballot.

Steve Bakken of Bismarck chairs the group, called “New Economic Frontier.” His group has now been given the green light to start collecting signatures. He said time is of the essence – the group has until July 8 to get the measure on the November ballot.

Bakken said he doesn’t want out of state groups coming into the state and putting a “one size fits all” measure before the voters.

"We're trying to do something in the North Dakota way, conservatively, up front, that is going to allow all the parties involved to have an easier transition into legalized cannabis use," Bakken said.

Bakken said he doesn’t think there will be issues in getting the required number of signatures by the deadline, so it gets on the ballot where there will be a lot of people voting.

"We think that is a better representation of North Dakota," Bakken said. "I'm always in favor of getting things on the ballot, but it depends of what ballot you're on."

Bakken said his hope is that, if this initiative passes, it will not need any massaging by the Legislature. He said the measure outlines possession limits, licensing and taxing the product.

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