Legal cannabis in Minnesota will lead to law enforcement challenges in North Dakota
FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) — A bill legalizing recreational cannabis has passed the Minnesota House and now heads to the state Senate.
Attorney Mark Friese says law enforcement knows there will undoubtedly be more people bringing the drug across state lines as people lawfully buy cannabis in Minnesota, if the law is passed.
“That doesn’t mean it’s lawful to bring it back here or that it’s lawful to possess in North Dakota but the natural inclination of people is, when they travel to a location where it’s legal, they pick it up and bring it home,” Friese said.
He says most law enforcement in Fargo is exercising discretion by not citing or charging people for cannabis use.
“Police have enormous discretion and I think the propensity of police to enforce marijuana offenses is going down. Our law enforcement officers locally are far busier than they’ve ever been. They have a number of violent offenses they’re investigating. Their calls for service are through the roof. They recognize that this is a fine-only type of offense,” said Friese.
For some, it would be illegal to ingest cannabis in Minnesota where it could be legal and come back to North Dakota, even if they are not behind the wheel as they cross the bridge.
“North Dakota has an ingestion statute as well that says if you ingest a controlled substance, you can be prosecuted for a crime no matter where you ingested it. There is an exception for adults over 21 with marijuana but an individual who is under 21 who smokes marijuana lawfully in Minnesota but comes back to North Dakota has committed a crime in North Dakota by having marijuana in their system,” Friese said.
A city spokesperson says Fargo Police Chief David Zibolski wanted to do more research on the matter before commenting on it.
The Minnesota Senate is scheduled to vote Friday on its own version of the cannabis bill.
Governor Tim Walz plans to sign it if it reaches his desk.