North Dakota does not need to become the next state to allow the use of marijuana for medical reasons.
An initiative petition is under review by Secretary of State Al Jaeger. If the petition is approved, supporters would soon begin gathering signatures to get the issue on the ballot. If the proposal gets that far, we urge North Dakota voters to reject the idea.
Under the proposal, someone with a "debilitating medical condition" may grow and use marijuana, and possess up to 2 ounces of the drug, providing they have a doctor's recommendation. Marijuana would be sold at licensed dispensaries. Some of the "debilitating medical conditions" include cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder.
We don't necessarily doubt that some patients find some measure of relief from the use of medical marijuana, but that's not enough good enough reason to adopt the change. What concerns us is the possibility of fraud, creating unnecessary users of medical marijuana.
In 2004, Montana voters approved the use of medical marijuana. The number of users and dispensaries remained relatively low until the Obama administration announced last year it would not prosecute medical marijuana users and providers in states where it was legal. The number of medical marijuana cardholders soared, as did the number of dispensaries.
And remember this:?The federal government won't allow North Dakota farmers to grow hemp, a cousin of marijuana used in clothing and other items that has little THC, the psychoactive substance in marijuana. But that government won't prosecute users of medical marijuana.
North Dakota does not need the problems associated with medical marijuana. We have more important things to do. We hope this initiative never makes it to the ballot.