North Dakota Marijuana Laws

Up In Smoke

May 06, 2022

Contributor: Adam Justinger


420, World Weed Day, and The Marijuana Holiday, are just a few of the many slang terms used to describe April 20th. Some people say this tradition began when a group of California teenagers ritualistically smoked marijuana everyday at 4:20 p.m. This eventually led to the code “420,” which was then celebrated on April 20th amongst marijuana smokers. Other beliefs include that 420 was the California police or penal code for marijuana or that there are 420 active chemicals in marijuana. Regardless of how this “holiday” began, April 20th is celebrated around the world and has gained even more popularity as marijuana becomes legalized in states around the country. But before you sit down with a bag of cheetos to watch a hit like Up in Smoke or Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, it’s important to know the law.

North Dakota Marijuana Laws

Prior to August 1, 2019, possession of marijuana was a class B misdemeanor level offense or higher. However, on August 1, 2019, marijuana laws changed drastically. Currently, possession of less than one-half ounce of marijuana is an infraction. Possession of one-half ounce but less than 500 grams of marijuana is a class B misdemeanor. Possession of more than 500 grams of marijuana is a class A misdemeanor. It is a class C felony if an individual manufactures, delivers, or possesses with intent to manufacture or deliver, marijuana. While the penalties may have changed, possession of marijuana, despite the amount, is still criminalized in North Dakota. The penalties have just been reduced quite substantially.

Along with changing the penalties, North Dakota also legalized medical marijuana. As such, eligible individuals can receive a medical marijuana card from the State. However, it is important to follow the laws as they pertain to medical marijuana.


Marijuana paraphernalia laws have also changed since August 1, 2019. Possession of marijuana paraphernalia used to ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body is now an infraction (compared to a B misdemeanor prior to August 1, 2019). Additionally, possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, or repack marijuana is a class A misdemeanor.

The Future

Marijuana laws are constantly changing. According to a recent article, marijuana is now recreational in twenty states/territories. States are constantly changing laws for both recreational and medicinal use of marijuana. Even the federal government appears to be taking action to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. While it is impossible to predict the future, the last decade shows an increasing trend in legalization.

In Conclusion

While marijuana laws are constantly changing, possession of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia are still criminal offenses in North Dakota. If you are charged with a marijuana offense, it is likely in your best interest to reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney. For help with criminal matters in North Dakota or Minnesota, please contact Adam Justinger at SW&L Attorneys in Fargo at 701-297-2890. For future articles, check out our blog. This article is for informational purposes only.