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Glimpse of Cannabis Legalization

13 August, 2013



Ok, students! Today our subject is cannabis legalization in North Dakota. The Why-Not-Minot? state. The cold north. Nine months of winter and three months of bad skiing. Ok, let’s stop with the jokes, shall we?

North Dakota has some of the harshest Marijuana laws in the country. While Minnesota (to the East) stopped jailing adults for simple possession back in 1976 and Montana (to the West) has had a Medical Marijuana law for nearly a decade; those with dibilitating pain or other affictions, in North Dakota, have been branded criminals. Last year, it looked like the end (of prohibition) was near. An initiative was to be placed on the ballot for a well regulated Medical Marijuana program back in November of 2012. North Dakotans for Compassionate Care gathered more than 20,000 signatures to give voters the right to vote on this initiative. It was not to be, however, as the chance to vote was stolen away when it was found that 11 petitioners faked over 7000 signatures, defrauding the campaign. This makes me very angry. Why do this? Why are people so stupid? Especially, when it comes to something so important to so many. Were they just too lazy to stand out in front of Walmart or go door to door asking for signatures? Were they scared they would not be well recieved? What ever the reason, let’s hope that they (and people like them) are not asked to do this kind of work again!!

In North Dakota, a first offense of possession of one joint of Marijuana can lead to a year in jail and a $2000 fine. North Dakota ranks 36th (using another formula to equate the findings, North Dakota can rank 28th) in the nation in harsh Marijuana laws. In 2007, there were 1416 Marijuana arrests. That comes out to an arrest rate of 221 per 100,000 people arrested for Marijuana offenses. In terms of sentencing, North Dakota ranks 7th in the nation. Marijuana accounted for 72% of ALL the drug arrests in North Dakota. With simple possession WAY outweighing sales. Between 2003 and 2007, Marijuana arrests rose 134 arrests during that period. From 1182 to 1416 total arrests.

I have included this break down chart by race and gender, from DrugScience.Org, just because it is interesting.

Here are selected 2007 marijuana possession arrest rates for North Dakota:


  • All individuals 100% 199
  • Males age 15 to 19 26% 1,351
  • Females age 15 to 19 10% 533
  • Males age 20 to 24 23% 933
  • Females age 20 to 24 5% 214
  • Whites 82% 183
  • Blacks 5% 842

I could go on and on about North Dakota. But I won’t. Since someone faked signatures on that petition, it might be awhile before North Dakotans take the matter seriously again. And that’s a real shame…

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