North Dakota Cannabis Ballot Measure

Voters in North Dakota will not have the opportunity to support the legalization of recreational cannabis in the upcoming election. That’s because a constitutional measure that would have legalized recreational marijuana failed to receive enough signatures. As a result, it will likely be at least two (2) more years before North Dakotans are able to legally purchase cannabis from dispensaries for recreational use. What does this mean for cannabis companies looking to expand their retail cannabis operations into North Dakota?

Not Enough Support for the North Dakota Freedom of Cannabis Act

The North Dakota Freedom of Cannabis Act would have made it legal for cannabis operators to sell marijuana for recreational use to adults over the age of 21. The ballot measure had been in the works for more than a year as the North Dakota Cannabis Caucus, a grassroots group, worked hard to secure enough signatures to get the cannabis legalization measure on the ballot in November 2020. But now the initiative appears to be dead, with the deadline for obtaining the necessary signatures having passed.

A second recreational cannabis measure, supported by a group called Legalize ND, also failed to garner enough signatures to qualify for the upcoming election ballot in North Dakota.

COVID-19 Hinders Efforts to Collect Signatures for North Dakota Pot Legalization Measure

Under state law, the North Dakota Cannabis Caucus needed at least 27,000 people to submit valid signatures in order to allow North Dakota voters to have a say in the upcoming election on whether to legalize pot for recreational purposes. When all was said and done, however, only around 24,000 signatures were accounted for and submitted to the North Dakota Secretary of State’s office.

Jody Vetter, the chairperson of the group pushing to legalize recreational marijuana in North Dakota, had expressed optimism about getting enough signatures to qualify for the upcoming election ballot. Unfortunately for proponents of recreational cannabis legalization in North Dakota, the coronavirus pandemic made it extremely difficult to gather signatures due to shutdown orders and social distancing requirements. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the North Dakota Cannabis Caucus had been able to stage public rallies in Bismarck and other major ND cities in support of recreational pot legalization. In the end, Vetter observed, the pandemic “really did put a damper” on the group’s signature collecting efforts.

What’s Next for Recreational Marijuana Legalization in North Dakota?

The next step for proponents of the North Dakota Freedom of Cannabis Act is to attempt to gather enough signatures for the next statewide election in November 2022. If the group is successful this time around, North Dakota residents would finally have the opportunity to vote on whether to legalize the use of cannabis for recreational purposes.

In addition to making it legal for North Dakota dispensaries to sell cannabis for recreational purposes, the ballot initiative would also allow North Dakota residents to grow marijuana plants at home, so long as the plants are not used for public consumption and there are not too many cannabis plants being grown in one place.

Cannabis Operators Can Contact Scythian Real Estate for Information on Sale-Leaseback Deals

Medical cannabis is already legal in North Dakota, with several dispensaries providing North Dakotans with access to marijuana after first having obtained a prescription from a physician. Two of these dispensaries were recently acquired by Scythian Real Estate, which subsequently leased the properties back to Grassroots Cannabis for operation under the Herbology name.

Scythian Real Estate is an established cannabis real estate business that partners with sophisticated cannabis operators who want access to capital. Two of Scythian’s current cannabis company partners are The Green Solution and Grassroots Cannabis. If you are a cannabis company thinking about expanding operations, email Scythian today.