Members of the North Dakota House of Representatives on Tuesday morning approved three separate bills to significantly amend the state’s marijuana laws. All three measures will now be transmitted to the Senate for further consideration.

House Bill 1420, which allows adults to legally purchase and possess cannabis, was approved by a 56 to 38 vote. HB 1420 permits adults age 21 or older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. An amendment to the legislation adopted by House lawmakers last week sets a limit on the amount of marijuana that may be purchased from a licensed retailer at 21 grams. Consumers can purchase up to 21 grams no more than twice per month.

House lawmakers also approved a separate measure, House Bill 1501, which imposes a 15 percent gross receipt tax on adult use marijuana sales. House lawmakers passed the bill by a vote of 73 to 21.

Lawmakers also approved a third piece of legislation, House Bill 1201, by a 58 to 36 vote. HB 1201 fully decriminalizes the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana — reducing penalties from a criminal infraction to a civil penalty of no more than $50. The measure also reduces penalties for the possession of larger quantities of marijuana.

Legislation enacted in 2019 partially decriminalized marijuana possession offenses by reclassifying the possession of up to one-half ounce of cannabis and/or the personal possession of marijuana-related paraphernalia for a first-time offender from a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, to a criminal infraction – punishable by a fine but no possibility of jail time.

A separate measure that would have placed an adult use marijuana ballot measure before voters to weigh in on during the 2022 election, was defeated by a 85 to 9 vote.

An activist group in North Dakota has already filed a proposed 2022 adult use marijuana legalization ballot measure. A separate ballot measure to legalize marijuana was narrowly defeated in 2018.

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