In our previous article about potential legalization of marijuana in Minnesota, we mentioned that there were a few bills regarding marijuana policy that had been introduced to the State Legislature this session. One of these bills is HF 2714 and was filed by State Representative Tina Liebling. Rep. Liebling represents District 26A (Rochester) in Minnesota. You can follow HF 2714 here.
Representative Liebling graciously gave me some of her time to answer my questions about what is going on with marijuana policy in Minnesota right now. Here is our Q&A:
LM: Why is marijuana policy reform important in the state of Minnesota right now?
RL: There are many reasons to remove the prohibition on personal use of cannabis. I don't claim that cannabis is 100% safe, but there is strong evidence that prohibition is doing much more harm to Minnesota than a system that permits adults to cultivate cannabis for personal use and regulates commercial production and sales.
LM: What do you hope this bill [HF 2714] would accomplish, if signed into law?
RL: Many Minnesotans are buying already cannabis on the black market--where they are brought into contact with criminals, risk prosecution themselves, and can't really know what they are buying. My bill would remove the prohibition on personal use of cannabis and create a system that lets adults make a personal decision about whether and how to use cannabis.
LM: Why should people support this bill, and how can they be more involved in advocating for it if they agree?
RL: The bill calls for an amendment to the Minnesota constitution, along with a comprehensive set of policies. Minnesota has no process of "initiative and referendum," so the only way to have a statewide vote on an issue is if the legislature puts it on the ballot as a constitutional amendment. So the bill has a long way to go through the legislature before the question will be on the ballot, and the detailed policies will get refined. The next step is for the bill to get a hearing in the House. Also, it does not yet have a senate author.
If readers are interested in supporting the bill, they should contact their state senators and representatives and let them know they support HF 2714.
If you are a Minnesota resident, please get involved with this cause! You can find out who represents you here, and a simple phone call, email, or letter makes all the difference at this time!