In a new campaign ad, House Majority Leader Al Carlson seems to take responsibility for the two-year delay in medical marijuana. In the radio spot, Carlson’s campaign criticizes his opponent Pam Anderson for saying she introduced medical marijuana. His ad goes on to make the claim it was Carlson who introduced the program. In essence, Carlson is taking responsibility for the 2017 bill which has led to North Dakota patients still not having access to medical marijuana.
A brief refresher might be needed here. Pam Anderson did introduce medical marijuana in 2015. Al Carlson, as the leader in the House, pushed to defeat that bill. It’s defeat in the House resulted in the 2016 initiated measure that passed by nearly 64%. After the measure overwhelmingly passed, the Legislature overturned the will of the public and two years later patients still do not have access to medical marijuana. That is what Carlson is bragging about in his ad.
The public has been rightfully outraged at the Legislature for overturning their vote. Patients who have waited continue to suffer. Because of that outrage, some voters have indicated they will vote for Measure 3 and allow recreational marijuana in the midterm. Some are voting “yes” simply to spite the Legislature. Today, Carlson basically raised his hand and told voters “that was me.”
I’m not sure what is worse. The spin Carlson’s campaign is attempting by saying he essentially brought medical marijuana to North Dakota. Or the political malpractice of taking sole responsibility for an action many voters point to and say that is why leadership change is needed in the Legislature. Medical marijuana is something Carlson voted against and then delayed for those who voted for it themselves. People will likely see through his spin and they may remember who is responsible for the Legislature delaying their will come November thanks to his campaign ad.