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The History of Marijuana in North Dakota

North Dakota has a history with marijuana that dates back to 1931, though some would argue it dates back to 1933. At this time, this is when the state outlawed all forms of marijuana, amidst the nationwide trend to prohibit weed in the United States, partly motivated by hostility and fear of Mexicans migrating to the U.S. There wasn’t much public discussion about these laws in the state though, so now North Dakota is known for having some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country.

In North Dakota, first offense possession of just a single joint is punishable with prison for up to a year in addition to a $2,000 fine. Also, not only are these laws strictly enforced in the state, but they’re unevenly enforced, because a 2013 study found that black people are more than four times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than white people. This enforcement is even more unfair because black and white people consume marijuana at nearly equal rates, so the state has a long way to go for marijuana reform. In 2016, 64% of the state voted in favor of medical marijuana because the state is moving forward, so be sure to contact your legislators to ask them to end marijuana prohibition in North Dakota.


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