Commentary: Please, N.D. voters, legalize recreational marijuana
FUBAR is what comes to mind when thinking about the shriveled up old (mostly) men in Bismarck and the way they've handled medical marijuana. The citizens of the state, the shriveled up old (mostly) men's bosses, handed legislators a directive to legalize and implement marijuana for medicinal purposes—64 percent of the electorate voted for it in Nov. 2016—and here we are more than a year later with lawmakers stumbling around like drunks in a dark room trying to get this going.
"But it's not our fault," they say. "This is really complicated. Believe us. It's way harder than accepting a free steak dinner from an oil lobbyist."
It matters not that 29 other states have legalized medical cannabis in some form to provide a blueprint to implement and distribute the stuff. North Dakota's legislators say the state is still a year, or more, away from doing the same. It took neighboring Minnesota a little over a year from bill passage to getting medical marijuana in the hands of people who needed it.
But, of course, Minnesota lawmakers were bright enough to listen to their constituents and handled the issue through the legislature, so they could craft the law as they saw fit. North Dakota's legislative supermajority buried its gray-topped heads in the sand when the citizens asked for a medical marijuana debate in Bismarck and so were stuck with an unwanted initiated measure.
You might believe the legislature is dragging its feet in implementing the law as a way to teach the unwashed masses who's boss, and you might be right.
And so here North Dakota medical marijuana sits, Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition. And that's using the family-friendly term allowed in this newspaper.
Here's hoping the organizers of a proposed recreational marijuana initiative in North Dakota have their stuff together enough to get it on the ballot in 2018. And here's hoping voters see fit to pass it with a 64 percent, or more, majority.
It's not so much about the pot as it is about wanting to see these coots in Bismarck scramble to deal with the implications of Reefer Madness.
Remember, this is a group of people that includes a gentleman who introduced a bill that would've turned your Wi-Fi-connected smoker into a "pornographic vending machine." Anybody who wants to take away your Constitutionally guaranteed right to watch "Debbie Does Dallas" while cooking up some scrumptious brisket can't be trusted.
Full legalization would blunt, so to speak, the need for medical marijuana and teach resistant legislators a lesson—listen to what the people are telling you, even if it's not something you're hearing about at morning coffee.
We joke about the pornographic vending machine bill in part because a lawmaker introduced it at the request of an out-of-state creep with a rap sheet. But when residents—a.k.a. taxpayers—brought up the idea of medical marijuana, it was rejected out of hand, thereby forcing their hand. FUBAR.
You go, full legalization people. Get it done, if for no other reason than the laughs.