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North Dakota Inches Closer to Medical Marijuana

Backers of a proposed medical marijuana ballot in North Dakota have received the green light to start collecting signatures to put the proposed medical marijuana initiative on next year’s Nov. 8 general election ballot.

North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger approved the advocacy group’s petition language, enabling them to start collecting the necessary signatures of support. “With its length, whether we’ll be able to get it by the earliest date I don’t know,” Jaeger said. “This is by far the longest that I’ve ever seen.” Jaeger noted that petitions are generally no longer than a few pages.

The North Dakota Compassionate Care Act, which is backed by the North Dakota Committee for Medical Marijuana, would allow state residents to possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana for medicinal use. Qualified patients would also be permitted to purchase medical cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries or cultivate small amounts at home.

A 2012 medical marijuana initiative was rejected from being placed on the ballot following the submission of thousands of fraudulent signatures by paid petition circulators, including several North Dakota State University football players.

“We’re obviously quite pleased,” said Rilie Ray Morgan, Morgan is chairman of the 27-person group, North Dakota Committee for Medical Marijuana. Morgan, who suffers from chronic back pain, claims that while he has never used cannabis for pain relief, given cannabis’ demonstrated effectiveness as a non-narcotic analgesic, he wants the option of using cannabis as treatment to relieve his ongoing back pain. “The next step is … we’re going to try and get some meetings organized in Fargo and Bismarck.”

The group would need to collect 13,500 signatures from North Dakota registered voters to get the measure on the ballot. Under the measure, patients would be allowed to possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana for medical purposes

Morgan said the group plans to get the measure on the November ballot.

“I just want to take things slow. We need to make sure we have all our ducks in a row,” Morgan said.

Information on ballot measures can be found at the ballot measures link on the secretary of state’s website at sos.nd.gov.

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