Recreational Marijuana and Public Health
North Dakotans are considering the legalization of recreational marijuana. The
language of the proposed measure encompasses the changes to current law listed below, which would take effect December 6, 2018. Sources for the following information include the ND Secretary of State website, www.learnaboutsam.org, and www.samhsa.org.
- Removes all restrictions on marijuana except the sale or distribution of marijuana to anyone under 21, and possession by anyone under 21.
- Current neglect and endangerment laws – those that prohibit smoking marijuana in the presence of a child – would be repealed.
- According to the language in the measure, anyone could grow any amount of marijuana anywhere.
- The measure would allow anyone to sell any amount of marijuana to anyone 21 years of age or older.
- There would be no limit on the amount of recreational marijuana a person could possess.
- Marijuana could be grown, processed and sold in any quantity anywhere in the state - near schools, churches, playgrounds, hospitals and neighborhoods.
Public Use and Criminality
- Marijuana impairs coordination and judgement, which increases a driver’s risk of being in a car crash
- In Colorado and Washington, marijuana-related traffic deaths increased by 48% to 50% after recreational legalization.
- In Colorado, crime has increased 11 times the national average since legalized recreational marijuana sales have begun; violent crime has increased 19%.
- People who have prior marijuana-related criminal records would have those records expunged. “Records” are not defined in the measure language. Failure to expunge records provides an individual with the right to a jury trial. The state would be financially responsible for records expungement, including costs and attorney fees, all within 30 days from November 6th.
- Emergency room visits: Since legalization, marijuana-related emergency room visits have increased 2000% in central Oregon, and quadrupled in Colorado. Also in Colorado, emergency poison control calls for children ages 0 to 8 years old have more than tripled.
- Physical effects: Using marijuana directly affects the brain; specifically the parts responsible for memory, learning, attention and reaction time. It limits the brain’s effectiveness, slows down thinking, and impairs coordination and judgement.
- Long-term mental effects: several studies have found marijuana use to be significantly linked with mental illness, especially schizophrenia and psychosis, and also depression and anxiety.
- Addiction: According to studies, 1 in 10 people who try marijuana develops a dependence that produces withdrawal and cravings.
- Today’s marijuana is MUCH more potent than in the past with pot edibles, candies, soda, cookies, and waxes being up to 99% THC. In the 60’s and 70’s it contained up to 5% THC. THC is the mind-altering part of the marijuana plant.
- Marijuana users are more than twice as likely to move on to abuse prescription opioids. CDC says that marijuana users are three times more likely to become addicted to heroin.
- If marijuana use starts in adolescence, the chances of addiction are 1 in 6. Youth use continues to increase in states with legalized recreational marijuana.
- Edibles like those pictured comprise at least half of Colorado’s marijuana.
Printable version of this page here
The petition can be found here.