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Petitions submitted in hopes of placing recreational cannabis back on ballot

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Petitions submitted in hopes of placing recreational cannabis back on ballot


BISMARCK — Carrying boxes filled with 22,444 signatures, members of the New Economic Frontier strutted Monday into the North Dakota Capitol to deliver petitions that, if approved, would for the third time ask voters in November to legalize recreational cannabis.

Signature validation is pending by the Secretary of State’s office as the minimum amount required for ballot approval is 15,552.

“As we’re getting closer and closer and closer, why this is important now is because at some point it’s going to pass,” said Steve Bakken, former Bismarck mayor and chairperson for the ballot-initiative group.

“So do we pass something that makes sense for North Dakota and we’re on the front side of it so we can manage it and the state can manage it, or are we going to wait to just clean up a mess?” he asked.

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The proposed

measure

would allow adults who are at least 21 years old to possess an ounce of cannabis flower, 4 grams of concentrate and edible products containing up to 1500 milligrams. Residents could also grow up to three cannabis plants, with a limit of six per household.

Medicinal use of cannabis was legalized by voters in November 2016 with strict requirements concerning how sales are conducted and where product comes from. Current law surrounding recreational use remains stringent.

Possession is fully illegal outside of medicinal use, with varying charges relative to the amount apprehended. Small amounts tend to be misdemeanors, while larger amounts connected to any intent to sell or distribute lead to felony charges — especially if delivered. Charges are even further amplified if the crime occurs within 300 feet of a school.

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Although people under the age of 21 who ingest cannabis can receive a class B misdemeanor, it is not a crime for those 21 and older to ingest the substance.

“We wanted something that made sense in North Dakota for North Dakota,” Bakken said. “So that’s what this initiated measure does. It gives the opportunity for voters to make a decision, and allows the state to seamlessly regulate, have oversight, license and subsequently tax the cannabis in a recreational fashion.”

Bakken said his group of petitioners wants to improve economic development, widen medicinal access to cannabis and help the criminal justice system in North Dakota. He said it was important to adopt their own initiative rather than using another state’s initiative.

“We don’t want to see something that comes in from out of state that the Legislature and the attorney general’s office has to spend a lot of time going back through and changing a bunch of laws, or the languages and laws, to make something fit,” Bakken said.

The Secretary of State’s office has 35 days — until Aug. 12 — to determine the validity of signatures. If the petition is approved, the proposed measure will be included on the November election ballot.

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Peyton Haug joined The Forum as the Bismarck Correspondent in June 2024. She interned with the Duluth News Tribune as a reporting intern in 2022 while earning bachelor’s degrees in journalism and geography at the University of Minnesota Duluth.





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North Dakota

Man injured in accidental shooting outside Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative in rural Wahpeton

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Man injured in accidental shooting outside Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative in rural Wahpeton


BRECKENRIDGE, MN — One man was injured in an accidental shooting on Wednesday, July 24.

A 24-year-old man went to the hospital after he was wounded during an accidental shooting inside a motor vehicle, according to a release from the Richland County Sheriff’s Office.

The event took place in the parking lot of Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative in rural Wahpeton, according to the release. The man was a contract employee working on site.

The shooting occurred shortly after noon and the man was transported to a nearby hospital in a private vehicle. First responders met him at a Breckenridge hospital.

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The name and condition of the man is currently unknown.

He was transported via LifeFlight to Fargo, the release states, and the investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of “staff.” Often, the “staff” byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.





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North Dakota Democratic delegates unanimously endorse Harris to be presidential nominee

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North Dakota Democratic delegates unanimously endorse Harris to be presidential nominee


BY: MICHAEL ACHTERLING

BISMARCK, N.D. (North Dakota Monitor) – North Dakota delegates to the Democratic National Convention unanimously endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris during a virtual meeting on Tuesday.

The announcement from the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party comes two days after President Joe Biden announced his withdrawal from the presidential race and endorsed Harris as the presidential nominee.

A delegate tracker from The Associated Press showed that Harris had enough support by Tuesday morning to make her the Democratic presidential nominee.

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Kylie Oversen, chair of the North Dakota delegation, said in a statement the Biden-Harris administration has accomplished more for rural America and North Dakota than any other administration in recent memory.

“Investments from the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act have been life changing for communities across our state and region,” Oversen said in the statement. 

She also cited the Biden administration’s investments in clean water infrastructure, broadband expansion and rebuilding roads and bridges.

“The Biden Harris administration has also prioritized investments in rural health systems, rural electric cooperatives, food security, and infrastructure in our tribal communities,” she said. “We are grateful for President Biden’s generational and transformative leadership.”

Oversen also said Harris has been fully vetted on the national stage and demonstrated her ability to lead in Biden’s administration.

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“Her commitment to reproductive justice and improving maternal health outcomes is especially important to me,” she said. “Our delegation looks forward to a fair, orderly process to nominate our next ticket for president and vice president, and we remain committed to maintaining Democratic leadership in the White House come November.”

Oversen added the delegation expressed its gratitude to Biden for his “decades of compassionate public service.”

“Biden’s decision to pass the torch to a new generation of leadership comes from a place of humility and true patriotism,” she said.

The Democratic National Convention will be held Aug. 19-22 in Chicago.



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Letter: Be wary of plans for large-scale dairies in North Dakota

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Letter: Be wary of plans for large-scale dairies in North Dakota


To the editor,

There is a history of confined animal feeding operations ruining the environment in many states. The new

Riverview Dairy

operations set to enter the eastern part of North Dakota near Hillsboro and Wahpeton should be looked at through the eyes of how we want our livestock industry to expand.

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Twenty-five thousand confined dairy cows is huge. Yes, they have state of the art waste disposal systems — or do they? What about flooding? Not unheard of in the Red River Valley. Additionally, the water required for these animals may seem fine but what about in a drought? Do you want to compete for drinking water with cows? Aquifers are being depleted for ag use already.

Twenty-five thousand animals hooked up to machines. Not grazed. Not good.

Workers will be temporary and not connected to the communities. Their money will be sent out of state/country. The money from Riverview will be sent out of the state. Riverview has multiple dairies in other states. Most inputs will be bought wholesale and not locally.

Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring said this LLP can do business without the change to our corporate farming law in the last legislative session. However, they sure are being subsidized by support for infrastructure stemming from other legislation piggy backed on that change in our anti-corporate farming law. A law that was meant to support local farmers to expand by accessing capital from other sources. This dairy will finish the small dairy opportunities in North Dakota using money meant to support them.

Karen Anderson
Warwick, North Dakota

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