Great news out of North Dakota as Secretary of State Al Jaeger has approved a ballot measure that would allow people to use marijuana legally for medical reasons. Jaeger’s Monday announcement allows medical marijuana advocates to begin gathering signatures to put the issue on the 2012 ballot.
The 22-page initiative would make it legal for North Dakota residents to possess up to 2 Â½ ounces of marijuana for medical purposes. It allows those who qualify could obtain the medicine from a state-licensed dispensary or grow a limited supply for personal use.
In order to qualify for the ballot, they’ll need at least 13,452 valid names by midnight Aug. 8 to get on the November ballot.
If approved by voters, the initiative would allow someone who suffers from a debilitating illness to use marijuana with a doctor's permission. It lists cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, glaucoma and other illnesses as examples of debilitating conditions. The state Health Department would be in charge of licensing and regulation. The law also bars medical marijuana use on school buses and grounds, and in jails and prisons. It prohibits smoking marijuana in public and does not exempt medical marijuana users from laws against driving while impaired.
The chairman of the initiative effort is state Rep. Steve Zaiser, a Democratic lawmaker from Fargo.
If you are interested in learning more, or getting involved in the signature gathering process, the contact person for the committee sponsoring the bill is Dave Schwartz of North Dakotans for Compassionate Care (701) 361-5800.
Here is a link to the full text of the 22 page initiative: