Democrat Who Wants Legalized Marijuana Argues In Favor Of Bottle Rocket Ban


Politics at times makes for strange bed fellows. That was clear today in watching the North Dakota House debate HB1257, introduced by Rep. Blair Thoreson, which would repeal North Dakota’s ban on bottle rocket sales.

Liberal Democrat Rep. Steve Zaiser, who was a spokesman for an initiated measure effort to legalize medicinal marijuana, argued strenuously against repealing the ban and was joined by Rep. Karen Karls, a socially conservative Republican.

To be clear, I’m for legalizing marijuana, but you really have to laugh at someone who thinks weed should be legal but bottle rockets illegal.

Arguing for the repeal was Rep. Thoreson, who read an interesting and lengthy list of all the things more likely to cause eye injuries than fireworks from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (there are a lot of things more likely to cause an eye injury than a bottle rocket) and Rep. Rick Becker who gave a passionate argument for why even seemingly trivial issues like bottle rockets are important in the overall fight for liberty.

“We are not here to protect people from hurting themselves,” argued Rep. Becker. “We are here to ensure the maximum amount of freedom.

The repeal passed 53 – 37, though it’s worth remembering that the legislation which put the ban in place originated in the state Senate. But the House vote was, frankly, a surprise so perhaps the Senate will surprise us as well and rid the state of this silly, pandering, ineffective law.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Kevin Flanagan

    Individual freedom is just a quaint notion to these people!

  • OldConserv2011

    Well the problem is clear. Zaiser knows that shooting bottle rockets while under the influence of marijuana could be extremely dangerous. He’s simply trying to protect those legal pot smokers from putting an eye out.

    • Rob


  • Game

    Here is a different perspective, but Zaiser and Karls serve districts that are part of cities that already have banned fireworks. I am pretty sure this law would do nothing to undo those city bans. It is really a rural vs. urban issue.

    • Rob

      I don’t see that as being the case when you consider that the bill’s sponsor, Blair Thoreson, represents one of the most urban parts of the state and the guy who gave the most passionate speech in favor of the bill, Rick Becker, represents an urban district in Bismarck.

      Maybe it’s just that social conservatives and liberals have a lot of overlap when it comes to supporting policies to restrict individual choice.

  • nimrod

    The bottle rocket ban was in my top 10 of dumbest things the ND legislature has ever done.

  • Hal414

    Rep. Becker looks like a rising star! I believe Becker, Grande, Koppleman and Kalk all have bright futures in ND politics.

    • Daniel Mickelson

      Becker’s making me proud to have voted for him so far.

    • Guest Observer

      With the new district lines, we ended up with Jon Nelson. A definite downgrade.

      • NDConservatie2011

        Jon Nelson ! I feel for you as well as your district, but it could be worse – think Kathy Hawken. Scary Thought is it not?

  • Roy_Bean

    I really hope they get time to ban Red Rider BB guns. You know, you can put your eye out with one of those too.

    • camsaure

      Or those pointy bras women wore in the 50s and early 60s.

  • RCND

    Rick Becker for Governor in 2016

  • devilschild

    I got hit in the back by a bottle rocket a few years ago. Some kid in a passing vehicle was shooting them out of the barrel of a rifle. I got a good sized burn out of that one.

  • The Whistler

    Did he really say that it’s all in fun “until someone gets hurt.” Wow, who knew my mom’s old maid friend was qualified to sit in the state legislature.