WASHINGTON — PRESS RELEASE — The Marijuana Policy Project announced Wednesday it is endorsing Measure 3, the initiative to legalize marijuana for adults in North Dakota and expunge past marijuana-related convictions.
MPP is the nation's largest organization dedicated exclusively to marijuana policy, and it played leading roles in the successful legalization initiative efforts in Colorado, Alaska, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada. It is the latest organization to throw its support behind Legalize ND, the local grassroots campaign that qualified Measure 3 for the November ballot.
“The Marijuana Policy Project supports Measure 3 and strongly encourages North Dakotans to vote in favor of this important initiative,” said MPP Deputy Director Matthew Schweich. “North Dakota's current marijuana prohibition laws are ineffective and wasteful, causing more harm to consumers and to the community than marijuana itself. Adults should not be punished for using a product that is objectively less harmful than alcohol, and law enforcement officials' time and resources would be better spent addressing serious crimes. Once marijuana is a legal product for adults, it can be regulated and controlled similarly to alcohol. It is time for North Dakota to join the growing number of states that have ended prohibition and taken new, more sensible approaches to controlling marijuana.”
MPP will assist Legalize ND by offering guidance and support with strategy and fundraising, as well as by mobilizing its supporters in North Dakota and around the country.
“We’re thrilled to have MPP’s support, and we look forward to working with them in the weeks leading up to Election Day,” said Legalize ND Chair David Owen. “With their help, we’ll continue to educate voters about the benefits of legalization and the harms of prohibition.”
Measure 3 would remove penalties for possession and cultivation of marijuana by adults 21 and older. It would also establish a process for sealing criminal records of individuals with prior marijuana convictions. In 2016, North Dakotans approved a medical marijuana ballot initiative, Measure 5. State regulators have been slow to implement it, and dispensaries are not expected to open until 2019.
“MPP is proud to throw its support behind this local grassroots effort,” Schweich said. “There is clearly a strong desire for change in North Dakota, and since state officials have not taken on this issue, it is up to the people to get it done. Voters will have a chance to make their voices heard this November, and we hope they will use it to say 'yes' on Measure 3.”
MPP is supporting several ballot initiative efforts this year, including Prop. 1 in Michigan, which would legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use, and Prop. 2 in Utah, which would legalize and regulate marijuana for medical use. Nine states and the District of Columbia have already approved laws making marijuana legal for adults, and eight of those states also regulate the commercial production and sale of marijuana for adult use.