Bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana fails in North Dakota Senate

Thursday, the Senate defeated a bill that would have legalized recreational marijuana.

New on Friday, an effort to merely decriminalize small amounts of cannabis was also rejected.

Only 13 senators approved of a bill that would have changed the penalty for possessing one ounce of marijuana from a crime, to a non-criminal offense carrying a $50 fine.

Thirty-two senators rejected that idea.

“Marijuana is a dangerous drug that we should not be legalizing at this time. If we didn’t pass a bill yesterday that would have legalized it with a lot of restrictions and regulations, then to legalize it today I think is very wrong-thinking,” said Republican Sen. Diane Larson, of Bismarck.

Another lawmaker who supported the bill noted that “legalizing” and “decriminalizing” are not interchangeable.

Nonetheless, the effort went up in smoke.

That means possessing an ounce of weed will remain an infraction with a fine of up to $1,000.

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