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Governor Burgum Signs Marijuana Penalty Reduction Law

May 8, 2019
Governor Burgum Signs Marijuana Penalty Reduction Law

An important piece of legislation (the House Bill 1050) was signed into law by the Republican Gov. Doug Burgum. The measure is aimed at reducing marijuana possession penalties.

The measure is aimed at reclassifying the marijuana-related possession offenses from a criminal misdemeanor to a criminal infraction. As per the proposed legislation possession of up to 14.175g (1.5 ounce) of cannabis or marijuana-related paraphernalia will now be classified as a criminal infraction rather than a criminal misdemeanor and the offender will be fined and will not serve any jail time. Earlier such offenses were treated as criminal misdemeanor and were punishable by up to 30-days in jail. Anyone found guilty of subsequent infractions committed in the same calendar year may face the possibility of misdemeanor charges.

It should be noted that as far as per capita marijuana possession related arrests are concerned, North Dakota ranked 6th in the nation back in 2016.

Other important clauses that are part of this important piece of legislation are aimed at reducing penalties on possession of certain amounts of cannabis (up to 500g) from a felony to a Class-B misdemeanor. Similarly, if a person is found guilty of possessing greater amounts (> 500g), the penalties are proposed to be amended from a felony to a Class-A misdemeanor. It is expected that the new law will take effect on August 01, 2019.


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