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Petitions for recreational marijuana turned into the Secretary of State's office

Petitions to allow recreational cannabis turned into the Secretary of State's offce
Dave Thompson
Petitions to allow recreational cannabis turned into the Secretary of State's offce

Backers of an initiated measure to allow the recreational use of marijuana have turned in more than 22,000 petition signatures to the North Dakota Secretary of State’s office, to get the measure on the November ballot.

The group “New Economic Frontier” needs just over 15,000 valid signatures.

"When you take a look at the economics, and what's going on in states like Minnesota and Montana, and Canada, it's time," said former Bismarck mayor Steve Bakken, who heads "New Economic Frontier."

Bakken said it gives the opportunity for voters to make a decision, and he said it allows the State to "seamlessly regulate, have oversight, license and subsequently tax cannabis."

"A lot of what we don't want to see is going on in some of the other states," Bakken told reporters. "We think this is a measure that fits the conservative nature of North Dakota."

Bakken said he was afraid some out of state group would come in, introduce a measure to allow recreational marijuana, and it wouldn’t fit with North Dakota laws and statutes. He said this measure would allow use in a person’s home, with a limit on the amount of plants a home could have, and it would prohibit people from using marijuana in public.

"I don't partake myself," Bakken said. "I don't like being around it, and I don't want to see somebody walking down the street, and having to smell marijuana. Shouldn't have to. But what somebody wants to do in the privacy of their own home — that's up to them."

The Secretary of State’s office has 35 days to approve the signatures.

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