Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Circulation of petition to legalize cannabis approved in North Dakota

South Dakota's legislature killed therapy for some patients but its northern neighbor is taking the issue to voters.
Backers of a proposed measure to legalize marijuana in North Dakota will soon start gathering signatures to try to put it on the Nov. 8 ballot. Sponsors must gather at least 13,452 signatures of eligible voters by July 11 to put the statutory measure to a statewide vote. Sponsors of a separate proposed ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana in North Dakota began collecting signatures last fall. [Dickinson Press]
For the record, I do not support widespread growing of hemp: it is an invasive species and capable of overgrowing native grasses.
North Dakota State University’s Langdon Research Extension Center started variety trials of industrial hemp this summer and is now beginning to harvest its crop. Kentucky is looking at industrial hemp varieties for the grain for seed and the biomass, and are getting yields about 1,000 pounds of biomass per acre, according to the Kentucky Department of Ag. One of the exciting products they are finding for industrial hemp is medicinal uses for people with epileptic disorders and seizures.
Read the bittersweet news here.

In another nod to tribes as the 51st State, Attorney General Eric Holder signaled to American Indian nations that they could begin building cannabis industries.
The new guidance, released in a memorandum (pdf), will be implemented on a case-by-case basis and tribes must still follow federal guidelines, said Timothy Purdon, the U.S. attorney for North Dakota and the chairman of the Attorney General's Subcommittee on Native American Issues. "The tribes have the sovereign right to set the code on their reservations," Purdon said. The policy is likely to be criticized in states opposed to marijuana sales, particularly those with Native American reservations. [Timothy M. Phelps, LA Times,] links mine.
Now in private practice, Purdon attended a law enforcement summit in Rapid City seeking solutions to entrenched racism there.

An Obama appointee, Purdon is considered a strong contender for a career in politics. Last year he accompanied President Barack Obama on a visit to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

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