Minnesotan legislators are throwing their state’s hat in the ring for cannabis legalization. Senators Melissa Frazen and Schott Jensen and Rep. Mike Feiberg sponsored HF-420, a bill numbered in reference to cannabis culture that would legalize a recreational cannabis industry in the state.
“The issue of cannabis legalization is one that’s moving incredibly fast around the country,” said Freiberg. Minnesota has had legal medical cannabis for five years. “At a certain point it will become inevitable here in Minnesota.”
Current Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz agrees that it’s time for the state to consider legalization. “I just think the time is here and we’re seeing it across the country. Minnesota has always been able to implement these things right,” Walz had said previously. During his congressional career, he pushed for the Department of Veteran Affairs to study medical cannabis.
The bill would allow a full cannabis industry from cultivation to retail, along with restriction toward marketing toward teenagers. “By legalizing marijuana and carefully regulating its sale, we can keep it out of the hands of teens without needlessly arresting responsible adult consumers,” said Jason Tarasek, Minnesotan political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “This would allow law enforcement to spend more time addressing serious crimes, while also creating a significant new revenue stream for our state.” The organization has estimated legal cannabis could bring in between $200 and $300 million in annual tax revenue.
“In Minnesota, the people want it already,” said Tom Gallagher, a criminal defense attorney who sits on the board for the state’s NORML chapter. “A lot of politicians would rather not be bothered with it. We think this is a very important issue because people are sitting in prison just rotting away, the families are wasting away without their family members. They’re not making money, they’re not paying taxes, we think it’s very important.”