A.G. Stenehjem is supporting a plan to allow residents with low level marijuana convictions to request pardons and clear their record of the conviction permanently, a move expected to help those who have trouble finding housing and jobs.
BISMARK, ND – Some might speculate that North Dakota is becoming a great state for marijuana users. According to a news station licensed to Gray Television, North Dakota is moving to allow state residents with low level criminal convictions related to marijuana to request pardons and clear their record of the conviction permanently.
The move comes just two months after North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed a bill in May that decriminalized low-level marijuana possession within the confines of his state. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem also supports the plan which is said will help those who have been convicted and have trouble finding housing and jobs. The plan was further adopted Wednesday by the state pardon advisory board and will require no further trouble with the law for five years before a record is permanently expunged.
By destigmatizing these minor and, in many cases, distant offenses, we can give individuals a second chance at a successful, healthy and productive life,” said North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum.
Attorney General Stenehjem said as many as 175,000 marijuana convictions could be eligible.
There are a lot of North Dakotans who have this issue. The burden shouldn’t be something that person has to carry around forever,” said Stenehjem. The new policy “totally removes a conviction; totally removes guilt. People then could honestly say ‘no’ if asked if they have had a previous pot conviction,” he added.
Other measures by a pro-marijuana citizen group are currently underway to add marijuana legalization into North Dakota’s Constitution via a petition for the matter to be added to the June 2020 primary. The petition would need 26,904 qualified signatures by Feb. 10 to be placed on the ballot. The proposal would amend the state’s constitution to allow people who are at least 21 years old to possess and grow up to 12 cannabis plants for personal use. The group submitted the proposed petition to Secretary of State Al Jaeger on Friday.
North Dakota also saw its third medical marijuana dispensary open in Williston today when Tempe, Arizona based Harvest Health & Recreation, Inc., announced it opened the doors to its third location, Harvest of Williston, for qualifying patients and caregivers. The company said the new location will ‘solidify Harvest’s presence in the state” according to its press release.
We are proud to bring our expertise to North Dakota and deliver on our promise to provide patients across the country with high-quality medicinal products and expert staff,” said Harvest CEO Steve White. “We share North Dakota’s commitment and dedication to only allowing the highest standards of operations in the state. We are thrilled to partner with them to open Williston and for our upcoming Bismarck location.”
As of June 27, more than 680 people in North Dakota have received medical cannabis cards, according to the health department’s division of medical marijuana.