“At a certain point it will become inevitable here in Minnesota.” Weed, that is. That’s according to Minnesota state Representative Mike Freiberg (Dem, natch).
Legal cannabis hasn’t been so much on the table for Minnesota in years past. There is a strong conservative constituency in the state and the former Governor Mark Dayton opposed legal cannabis. But, following last year’s election, Dayton is out of a job and the new Governor Tim Walz has said he’s down to sign in legal weed if the bill gets to his desk.
Which is why that “inevitable” remark from Freiberg is interesting. It certainly does look like the tide is turning on legal cannabis, and the Midwestern state dominoes might be starting to fall after Michigan OK’ed legal weed last year. That’s what gave Freiberg and fellow democrat Senator Melisa Franzen the confidence to introduce their pro-cannabis policy this week.
But that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen soon. Even if all goes according to plan, the Associated Press says the state won’t get legalized recreational adult use cannabis until the far-distant future of 2022.
And though the Governor is on board, and the state’s House is mostly Democrats, Republicans, not always the most stalwart cannabis supporters, still hold a majority in the Senate. One very vocal fan of not having legal weed is Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka.
“Legalizing recreational marijuana is a controversial issue, to say the least, and not something I would consider a priority issue,” Gazelka said in a statement. “Considering that it’s linked to mental health problems, driving accidents, and impaired teen brain development, I don’t think it has a chance to pass the Senate this year.”
The basics of the bill are pretty familiar to anyone who’s looked at what other weed-legal states are done. If signed into law, the bill would allow adults 21 and over to use, buy, and, if properly licensed, grow and sell cannabis. Municipalities would have the freedom to create their own regulations on cannabis production and retail. Those with prior convictions for cannabis crimes could have the option to have their records expunged. What the taxes on cannabis would be is still up in the air.
Photo via Flickr user Teresa Boardman