BISMARCK, N.D. | The Republican-controlled House has passed legislation to legalize recreational marijuana in North Dakota.
Lawmakers also passed a related bill Tuesday setting up a tax policy for marijuana. Both bills now go to the Senate.
The legislation restricts recreational marijuana to people 21 and older, limits possession to 1 ounce, restricts its use to private property and bans growing it at home.
The bill to legalize and restrict recreational marijuana mirrors much of the state’s medical marijuana program, which the 2017 Legislature implemented after voters approved it in 2016.
“You can’t be walking down the street smoking a joint,” said Rep. Robin Weisz, who chairs the House Human Services Committee, which handled the bill.
Republican Reps. Jason Dockter and Craig Headland said that although they are personally opposed to recreational marijuana, they proposed the bills to head off citizen efforts to legalize marijuana through the constitution as South Dakota voters did last year, the Bismarck Tribune reported.
North Dakota voters defeated a measure to legalize marijuana in 2018 and two measures last year fell short of signatures for ballot placement. But backers had already been gearing up for a 2022 measure to put marijuana legalization in the state constitution.
The bill also limits the number of growers in North Dakota to seven and dispensaries to 18, all must be registered with the state.