With the Legislative session starting, and the Republican Party’s super majority firmly established for at least the next two years it is time for our lawmakers to accept the people’s will and take action in implementing the successful ballot measures which passed in the November election.
As per the North Dakota State Constitution, anything passed by a ballot initiative must be implemented into law within 30 days of the election. One such measure, however is now more than 30 days late in its execution with no signs of the legislature even beginning the process of providing the services mandated by the law.
The measure is now law. The Compassionate Care Act of North Dakota, which was Measure 5 on the ballot, successfully legalized medical marijuana in the state by a margin of roughly 28 points. The Republican majority, both before and after the start of the new session, has not currently put the law into effect. Jessica Rhoades, a qualifying citizen, was told rather rudely by the North Dakota Department of Health to “Just Wait”, on Dec. 14 about a week after the law was supposed to go into effect. After waiting yet another month longer than she is legally required, Jessica has still not been able to get the medicinal marijuana she needs for her medical condition to this day, about a month later. Unfortunately, she is just one of many individuals who not only were forced to wait years due to ignorance, to be allowed to get their treatments under the law, but now are also being forced to wait even longer since it does not coincide with the political agenda of those in power.
This has created a situation where law abiding citizens can be considered felons, simply because the state has not fulfilled its duty and put into place the proper provisions to allow for medical marijuana to received. As a result many people are law abiding citizens in theory, since they are only consuming legal medical marijuana per the recommendation of their health professionals, but in practice still criminals capable of being convicted due to not being able to apply through the state, since the state is violating its own constitution by not having the process ready by Dec. 8.
I find great irony in the fact that Republicans have, over the past two months since the election of Donald Trump, demanded that the Democrats accept the results of the election, while at the same refused to do so in states where they hold the power.
This once again shows the political culture of our state, which would rather wait for people to die in pain or suffer more seizures as opposed to doing the right thing, simply because they happen to disagree with the results of democracy. Make no mistake, while radical liberals blocked ambulances and traffic putting the blood of innocents on their hands, so to have the Republicans in this state simply because of the inherent elitism that runs rampant in politics, the belief that they know better than the people.
As a result, we see that in reality, neither party is really all that different when they don’t get their way, both are willing to let people die in a futile effort to stop the inevitable, rather than accepting the results of the process of democracy in this country and move on. Imagine the cruelty and evil that it takes to allow people to suffer in great pain, simply because you disagree with the will of the majority. Imagine the arrogance you must possess to believe that your opinion alone should reign supreme contrary to the cumulative will of a majority hundreds of thousands strong.
Both Republicans in this state and Democrats nationally need to grow up and accept that when the people speak their word is final and not subject to debate or illegal delay. As we have seen in this state and across the country, neither major party has been willing to be graceful in defeat and both sides only accept the results of the elections when it suits them. As both sides have rightfully said when they thought they were going to win, to not respect the results of the election, and to not act in accordance to those results threatens the very fabric of a democratic society.
It is very simple, either we are democracy or we aren’t. Being pro-democracy isn’t always easy, it means accepting that sometimes what you want won’t happen because people disagree with you, but having faith that in the end the majority will make the correct decisions. It’s time for the left to grow up when it comes to Donald Trump, and the right to grow up when it comes to medical marijuana in North Dakota.
Dave Owen is a staff writer for the Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]