Supporters of the legalization of marijuana within North Dakota have now turned to a proposed initiative on Tuesday that will put the issue on the November North Dakota ballot. Originally, it was a Fargo state legislator who was the one who proposed the initiative to make using and growing marijuana for medicinal purposes legal.
With the approval of the voters of North Dakota, the proposed marijuana initiative would allow someone who suffers from severe or debilitating conditions and illnesses to use marijuana with a licensed physicians’ recommendation. Among the listed reasons for being eligible to use medical marijuana in North Dakota, those that apply would be cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, glaucoma and other illnesses as examples of debilitating conditions.
North Dakota State Republican, Steve Zaiser, serves as the chairman of the initiative effort. Zaiser said he believes that people who suffer from chronic pain should be granted the right to use medical marijuana if it relieves them from discomfort. Zaiser and Dave Schwartz, who serves as campaign director for Compassionate Care, are heading the proposal’s sponsoring committee, which is composed of twenty-seven members who are mostly from the eastern side of North Dakota.
Several years ago, Zaiser suffered from a series of strokes that have left him in a state of constant pain and has said that it is not his motivation for sponsoring this medical marijuana initiative. Zaiser said, “Marijuana has proven that it has helped people and doctors will testify to that effect. I don’t want any more North Dakotans to suffer unnecessarily. In regards to his own pain from his serious of strokes, Zaiser said, “I do have chronic pain, and if it were to be passed and my doctor were to suggest that I could perhaps use it, I would consider doing that.” Steve Zaiser had also said that he has heard nothing but good things from the states that have permitted the use of medical marijuana.
The twenty-two page initiative was submitted to Secretary of State Al Jaeger on Tuesday, which would make it legal for North Dakota residents to possess up to two and a half ounces of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The initiative states that those who qualify for medical marijuana could obtain the drug from a state-licensed dispensary, or they are permitted to grow a limited supply on their own for personal use.
As reported by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Montana and sixteen other states have already made laws that allow the medical use of marijuana. North Dakota allows its residents to put proposed state laws and constitutional amendments directly to a vote if the initiative’s supporters can gather enough of a following.