Following the Minnesota Legislature's vote to approve medical marijuana in 2014 the idea of legalizing recreational weed became a question of when, not if.
It seems that moment is upon us as we move into the final weeks before the 2018 midterms. The full legalization of cannabis in Minnesota depends on having the right people elected to serve in the state legislature and Governor’s office, points out the Campaign for Full Legalization.
The vast majority of the candidates from Minnesota’s incumbent Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL) have announced at one point or another that they favor legalizing recreational marijuana.
As to be expected, the four Republicans running for state positions have all announced that they oppose legalizing it.
Minnesota has an interesting history in terms of cannabis. In 1976, the state legislature downgraded the criminal status of possession of a small amount of weed to a petty misdemeanor.
Then in 2014, after the persistent and heroic lobbying by the families of children suffering from epilepsy, the Legislature made Minnesota the 22nd state to legalize MMJ.
Some might even remember Amelia Weaver, 8-years-old at at the time, who became the face of the struggle for legalized medical cannabis, which drastically reduced her daily seizures. Amelia passed away in August 2018.
"Minnesota continues to have a highly successful medical cannabis program that is helping thousands of seriously ill patients", said Dr. Kyle Kingsley, M.D., a board-certified emergency medicine physician and CEO of Vireo Health Inc.
“We have a program that is effective for the majority of participating Minnesota patients, according to patient data published by the Minnesota Department of Health,” said Dr. Kingsley.
At the most recent Minnesota State Fair, the annual unscientific questionnaire offered at the Minnesota House of Representatives booth found that a majority - 50.6 percent of 7,122 respondents - favored legalizing recreational cannabis.
“I’ve hung out at that booth. I can attest that the people who pause long enough to complete its long questionnaire typically aren’t 20-something hipsters,” wrote a reporter at the Star Tribune.
“A lot of people in our generation realize that the prohibition of marijuana is a failed policy,” said DFL state Rep. Tina Liebling. “It’s definitely true that a lot of younger people want this changed. But support for legalization is broader than we might think.”
Minnesota’s Campaign for Full Legalization is organizing voters to demand that state legislators “end the senseless, expensive, corrupt, structurally racist, and failed war against cannabis consumers.”
To do that, we all need to vote!