North Dakota is one of the least populated states in the country, rich in history and maybe a little stuck in time. The “Rough Rider State” has stuck to its guns and doesn’t seem to be budging on legalizing marijuana, for recreational or medicinal use, anytime soon.
Fines & Jail Time
In a state, also known as “The Peace Garden State”, one might think that it would be progressive place, pushing to legalize marijuana, but North Dakota gives a big “NO” to marijuana use of any kind. If you’re planning on visiting or even moving to the state, it’s important to know the consequences of getting caught with pot.
If you are in possession of less than ½ oz, you can be charged with up to 30 days of jail time and up to $1,500 in fines. Get caught with the same amount while operating a motor vehicle, expect your fines to double and a year in jail. Possessing ½ to 1 oz will cost you one year and $3,000. 1 oz to 500 g (or about 17 oz) is a felony charge, up to 5 years of jail time, and $10,000. More than 500 grams, will double your time and fines. Even possessing paraphernalia will get you a year in the slammer.
If the fines and time for possession isn’t enough to make you think twice, don’t get caught selling. 100lbs or less is a decade of jail time and up to $20,000 in fines. 100 lbs or more will double your jail time.
Possessing, ingesting, or manufacturing hash or concentrates has about the same consequences, so it’s probably not worth the effort or risk.
What About Medical Marijuana?
While many states adamantly refuse to legalize recreational marijuana, the same states are jumping on board and recognizing the benefits of marijuana for medicinal purposes. North Dakota, however, is not. Despite impassioned speeches from individuals with sick loved ones, pleading to pass a medical marijuana bill, North Dakota continues to say “No” over and over.
Most recently, a bill was presented with would allow patients and caregivers to possess a controlled amount of cannabis oil, beverages, vapors, and pills to be used for medical purposes. Although, many senators (of both parties) have recognized and agreed that medical marijuana does have numerous benefits for individuals suffering from debilitating illnesses.
Unfortunately, it’s safe to say that North Dakota is just too afraid to change. Many lawmakers have spent more time focusing on the “criminal” profile of marijuana use and the challenges behind patrolling usage, which is unfortunate for people who suffer every day.
It’s disappointing that a state like North Dakota, with a history of immigrants who struggled and persevered on the harsh plains, has no desire to step up and help its modern day citizens out. While the people of North Dakota should keep asking over and over to legalize marijuana, it doesn’t look like no-nonsense state will be saying “yes” any day soon.