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Marijuana Legalization Measure Defeated in North Dakota

The initiative lost by a big margin in a state that approved medical use two years ago.

JZSJZSToday North Dakota voters, who two years ago approved medical marijuana by a 28-point margin, declined to take the additional step of allowing recreational use. Measure 3, the Marijuana Legalization and Automatic Expungement Initiative, was opposed by 60 percent of voters with 80 percent of precincts reporting.

Measure 3 would have gone further than any initiative enacted so far by removing marijuana from the state's list of prohibited substances and thereby legalizing "any nonviolent marijuana activity, except for the sale of marijuana to a person under the age of 21." Possession of marijuana by minors would be treated the same as possession of alcohol.

The North Dakota initiative was also unique in requiring "automatic expungement of the record of an individual who has a drug conviction for a controlled substance that has been legalized." So far California is the only state to approve a legalization initiative that addressed the lingering collateral consequences of a marijuana conviction, and even that measure put the onus on victims of prohibition to seek expungement or resentencing (although a law enacted last month will make the process easier).

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