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Minnesota voters must decide whether to legalize marijuana on the ballot, says Republican candidate for governor

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Minnesota’s Republican gubernatorial candidate says he thinks the state should consider decriminalizing “trivial amounts” of marijuana and write off past records, and he wants broader cannabis legalization for voters to decide on the ballot.

Scott Jensen, the former Republican senator who previously sponsored a bipartisan legalization bill, was asked about his positions on cannabis politics during an interview with The Star Tribune last week. He also said that the current state law that allows loose food to contain THC should be evaluated after six months.

But perhaps most notable were Jensen’s remarks about legalizing adult use. The Democratic incumbent, Governor Tim Walz (Democrat), has Paid to legalize marijuana in a regulated marketincluding funding for implementation in this year’s proposed budget, for example.

But despite a sweeping reform bill from House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D) through 12 committees before it passed the House last year, legalization stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate and was not eventually enacted. And the previous bipartisan legalization proposal led by Jensen and Senator Melissa Lopez Franzen (D) in 2019 did not advance.

Now, Jensen says the matter should be decided by voters as a constitutional amendment.

“If we can have a discussion and then put it on the ballot as an amendment, I think that makes a lot of sense,” the candidate said, according to the Star Tribune’s Morning Hot Dish newsletter.

Back in June, Walz Sign a large-scale bill into law which included provisions to provide permanent protection that allows the state Cannabis companies to legally market some cannabis productsIncluding foods and drinks mixed with CBD and other cannabinoids.

The law states that all hemp-derived cannabinoids including CBD can be legally sold in food, beverages, topicals and more — as long as the products contain less than the federal limit of 0.3 percent THC. Edible products and beverages should be limited to a total of 5 mg THC per serving and 50 mg per pack.

The THC limit applies to all forms of psychoactive compounds, including the more widely known delta-9 THC, as well as other common derivatives such as delta-8 that are in a particularly gray regulatory area in many state markets.

In the new interview, Jensen declined to say whether he would review the unique cannabis policy, noting that officials should evaluate the program’s effectiveness after six months to see if changes should be made.

“I think we have a little bit of mud on the wall and we have to sort it out and see what gets stuck,” he said.

On his campaign website, Jensen expresses support for improving the state’s medical cannabis program and erasing previous marijuana possession records.

“Individuals with previous criminal convictions can have difficulty obtaining and maintaining employment, attending university, and engaging in other activities. In some cases, this hardship can lead to other crimes and regression,” the website Says. “Dr. Jensen thinks it is time to end the cycle and erase these minor irregularities that do more harm than good.”

In 2019, he also called for the federal rescheduling of cannabis to make it easier to research the plant.

But while Jensen said in the last interview that endorsement should be decided by voters on the ballot, he sponsored a bill in 2019 that would Established a cannabis market for adults In Minnesota by law passed by legislators.

The proposed legislation would have allowed adults 21 and older to own, grow and purchase cannabis from licensed retailers, while also tasking regulators with approving testing and cultivation work.

The bill would also have created a pathway to get rid of past marijuana-related convictions and invest tax revenue from cannabis sales in communities that have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.

Back in January, Winkler and López Franzen They discussed their plans to advance cannabis reform this session.

Winkler said at the time that his bill was “the product of hundreds of hours of work involving thousands of people, and countless hearings and public hearings.”

Separately, some Democrats including Winkler’s team have found hung herself in controversy about an alleged (and ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to change the name of a third party focused on marijuana that some saw as undermining Democratic support on the ballot in previous rounds to one aimed instead at wooing far-right conservatives in an apparent attempt to pull votes away from Republicans in the upcoming election .

Previously, in 2019, the governor State agencies were directed to prepare for the implementation of reform In anticipation of transient legalization at the end.

While the legislation was ultimately not enacted after the House passed the bill last year, the governor has already signed off on the bill. Expand the state’s medical marijuana programpartly by allowing patients access to smokeable cannabis products.

A poll of Minnesota lawmakers published last year showed that 58 percent of the population support legalization. This is a modest increase Compared to 2019 room surveywhich showed 56 percent support.

The House Majority Leader said in 2020 that if Senate Republicans don’t agree to legislatively change policy, he hopes they will At least let voters decide on cannabis As a 2022 ballot measure, that did not materialize.

Meanwhile, marijuana policy has recently come to the fore in gubernatorial races in South CarolinaAnd the South Dakota And the Pennsylvania.

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