Marijuana laws have changed in many places around the United States over the last two decades, including right here in North Dakota. As legalization has gained widespread support and more people consider the medical uses of marijuana, laws in many states have shifted policy to legalize marijuana for adult use.
Despite efforts by state lawmakers, North Dakota has not yet legalized marijuana. However, the state does have a medical marijuana law. State lawmakers also adjusted the penalties associated with marijuana possession. After its passage in 2019, HB 1050 changed the way that North Dakota penalizes possession.
The bill increased the total weight of marijuana necessary to trigger significant criminal penalties. For a person not involved with the medical marijuana program, what are the rules about marijuana possession in North Dakota now?
First-time possession of up to 14 grams is a civil infraction
Possession of any amount could have once resulted in significant criminal penalties, but that has thankfully changed. State law now treats the possession of up to half an ounce of marijuana or 14 grams as a civil infraction for a first offense.
Someone caught no more than 14 grams of marijuana will face up to $1,000 in fines but no jail time. Repeat offenses and higher possession amounts could still lead to criminal charges for possession, leading to jail time and possibly fines. The overall weight of the marijuana will determine the penalties, although possession is typically a misdemeanor offense.
Learning about the drug laws in North Dakota can help you avoid potentially breaking them.