Senate legislation is pending, Senate Bill 2344, to significantly rewrite the North Dakota Compassionate Care Act.
Sixty-four percent of voters approved the law on Election Day. Lawmakers should respect the public’s will and implement this law as initiated.
Unfortunately, SB 2344 makes several unacceptable changes to the Act. Specifically, prohibits qualified patients from possessing whole-plant cannabis, instead redefining “usable marijuana’ under the law to only mean “a liquid, including an oil, or a pill delivery form of marijuana.” It eliminates provisions permitting specific patients the option to cultivate their own medicine, and reduces the quantity of medicine that patients may legally obtain. It also caps the number of medical cannabis cultivators and dispensaries to no more than four and eight, respectively.
Separate legislation, SB 2514, to delay the implementation of the North Dakota Compassionate Care Act to a date to be chosen by the legislature has already been signed into law.
Lawmakers’ decision to seemingly disregard the will of their constituents is both arrogant and troubling. Whether or not one supports marijuana law reform, one should find legislators’ attitudes and actions an affront to the democratic process. Americans have been told time and time again that ‘elections have consequences.’ There should not be a ‘marijuana exception’ to this longstanding principle.
Voters made their opinions on marijuana policy clear at the ballot box in November. Lawmakers in these jurisdictions have a responsibility to abide by the will of the people and to do so in a timely manner. Please urge them to do so by rejecting SB 2344.