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AS I SEE IT

Posted 10/03/18 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

While North Dakota is still working to implement a medical marijuana program that was approved by voters in 2016, voters will again be asked to weigh in on the subject of marijuana in the November General Election.
At issue this time is whether or not state voters want to completely legalize marijuana in North Dakota and become the 10th state in the nation to do so.
While there are no doubt many who are supporting Measure No. 3, the passage of this measure would open a whole new box of problems for the state to deal with.
First, and foremost of these problems is that the language of Measure No. 3 is bad. Very bad.
For starters, if approved, the language of Measure No. 3 would add a new section of state law that would supercede all existing state laws dealing with or regulating marijuana.
That means that marijuana could be grown anywhere, by anyone, as much as they want, wherever they want to grow it. Marijuana could be sold to anyone anywhere. No licenses. No regulations. No restrictions. It could be sold next to a school or a church, at a public event or on the sidewalk in front of your home.
Going further, driving while impaired by marijuana would no longer be illegal and there would be no limit on the amount of marijuana a person could possess.
Under the new law, if passed, marijuana could be smoked or marijuana-laced products could be used anywhere, including in places where smoking cigarettes is not allowed.
And unlike in other states where the use of recreational marijuana is currently allowed, North Dakota would not receive any tax revenue because Measure No. 3 does not provide for it. So if the measure does pass, state residents would be faced with footing the bill for all of the costs associated with legalized marijuana without the benefit of having any new tax dollars to offset those costs.
Measure 3 is badly written and will create more problems for North Dakota than legalizing the drug will ever bring.
As we have seen in other states that have legalized marijuana, the use of the drug by children is skyrocketing and the crime rate is increasing.
Couple that with increased healthcare costs, people driving under the influence of marijuana, as well as the impact that it will have on employers who will have to deal with workers using the drug, and you have a recipe for disaster.
If passed in November, North Dakota would have the dubious distinction of being the most liberal state in the nation for regulation and control of marijuana.
Measure No. 3 is bad for North Dakota and needs to be voted down in the General Election in November.