Minnesota House Democrats push for marijuana legalization - again

Democrats in the Minnesota House are taking another try at legalizing marijuana this session.

They’ve spent the last year and a half traveling across the state holding listening sessions on the topic, and said their bill creates a regulated marketplace that will generate tax revenue for the state. They also argued that legalizing marijuana would eliminate many racial inequities in the criminal justice system with regard to drug crimes.

Democrats also pointed to South Dakota’s recent vote to legalize it, noting that the North Dakota Legislature is now considering it, too.

"As South Dakota legalizes, the ability for Minnesotans to drive across the border and get cannabis is going to increase significantly. If people are going to drive over to Wisconsin to buy fireworks, they’re sure as heck going to drive to South Dakota to get cannabis," said Rep. Ryan Winkler, House Majority Leader.

While the House is moving forward, the Republican-controlled Senate said this is not on their priority list.

In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said, "We are just starting to learn about legalization’s adverse effects in other states like Colorado and Washington. There is no reason to rush this in Minnesota without learning more."