North Dakota lawmakers are claiming they need for more time to implement the state’s new medical marijuana program.
According to the Associated Press, a joint session was recently held between the House and Senate in an effort to prolong the state's total prohibitionary standard.
Democrats and Republicans are blown away by the fact that marijuana legalization was actually approved in the election last November, are now trying to apply the brakes in order to give state health officials and law enforcement time to get up to speed.
Unfortunately, it appears as though legislative forces will be successful in implementing their scheme. The “emergency” bill, which has strong bi-partisan support, is expected to make its way through the legislative process without issue. However, it is not yet clear whether Republican Governor Doug Burgum will support the measure in ink.
If the proposal becomes law, the state’s newfound medical marijuana program would not take effect until the end of July.
Lawmakers say this setback is not some wild-eyed plan to prevent people from gaining access to marijuana, but rather a necessary action to ensure state officials are comfortable with what is about to happen.
"This in no way is to try to stop the process," Republican Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner told AP. "Nobody is playing games with this. Everybody respects the will of the people."
Although many marijuana advocates felt North Dakota was a long shot when it came legalizing medical marijuana, organizers responsible for the North Dakota Compassionate Care Act took them all by surprise when they secured 65 percent of the votes.
The law is designed to give patients the freedom to possess up to three ounces of marijuana and grow it at home for personal use. It will also allow patients to purchase the herb from dispensaries all over the state.
North Dakota Republicans have fought against legalization for years. In 2015, the state legislature rejected an opportunity to establish a more restrictive medical marijuana program, and it was at that point that supporters vowed to put a more comprehensive plan in front of the voting public.