North Dakota becomes 25th state to eliminate jail time for low-level marijuana possession!


Last update: May 9, 2019


With Gov. Doug Burgum’s signature on House Bill 1050, North Dakota has officially removed jail time penalties for adults 21 and older who possess up to half an ounce of marijuana. The final legislation was the product of a conference committee made up of members from the House and Senate of North Dakota’s Republican-controlled state legislature.

North Dakota’s new law goes into effect on August 1 of this year. It reclassifies possession of up to a half ounce of marijuana as an infraction punishable by no jail time and a maximum fine of $1,000. Previously, it was a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail in addition to a fine. The bill also reclassifies penalties for possession offenses involving amounts greater than a half ounce, and it calls on the Legislative Assembly to study adult-use legalization. A detailed summary of HB 1050 is available here.

The reclassification compromise bill is far from ideal, but it is a substantial step in the right direction. Check back on this page and sign up for email alerts to get the latest updates on progress in North Dakota.

Medical marijuana dispensaries opening

Earlier in March of this year, the first state-licensed dispensary opened in North Dakota, and three additional dispensaries are expected to begin sales soon. In total, state laws permits up to eight dispensaries. Two cultivation facilities have also been licensed.

After a disappointing defeat at the ballot in 2018, local advocates with Legalize ND are gearing up again for another effort to legalize marijuana for adult use in the 2020 election. North Dakotans voted last November to defeat Measure 2, a ballot initiative that would have legalized marijuana for adults and allowed for the sealing of records for individuals with prior marijuana offenses.

Take action


Speak out: Please take a moment to send a letter to your legislators asking them to end marijuana prohibition entirely.

Stay connected: To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in North Dakota, be sure to subscribe to MPP’s free legislative alert service.

Contact us: If you support reform and are a medical professional, a seriously ill patient who might benefit from medical marijuana, a law enforcement official, a clergy member, or a member of the legal community, or you know someone else that is, please email to see how you can be of special help. Please include your address or nine-digit zip code.