BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota voters are likely to have a chance this fall to decide whether marijuana may be used legally as a pain reliever, an option the Legislature has never addressed and that South Dakotans have rejected twice.
Supporters of medical marijuana have been circulating a citizen initiative to put the issue on the November ballot. On Monday, Dave Schwartz, campaign director for a pro-medical marijuana group called North Dakotans for Compassionate Care, delivered petitions that he said contained about 20,000 signatures to North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger's office.
The petitions need about 13,500 signatures from North Dakota voters for the initiative to qualify for a vote. Jaeger has about a month to review the petitions and decide whether they are valid.
The measure would allow someone who suffers from cancer, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder and other debilitating illnesses to use marijuana if a doctor recommends it.
Medical marijuana users could grow a limited supply for their own use, and possess up to 2½ ounces of pot for medical reasons, the measure says.
People who needed to obtain the drug would do so from a state-licensed dispensary, with the North Dakota Health Department given regulatory responsibility over medical marijuana.