The stars appear to have aligned themselves with the passage of a bill in the Minnesota legislature to legalize marijuana for recreational use by adults in 2023.
However, nothing is certain in the legislature even with one party controlling all major levers of government.
“There will be some form of rationing,” predicts Carleton College political analyst Stephen Scheer.
What the final bill will look like, however, is an open question.
“One question is how far do you go with rationing? Do you legalize it completely? Do you allow it to be private? Do you have it administered through state government?” Scheer said. “A whole bunch of specific questions here have to be settled. And I think some of them are going to be very thorny questions for the Democrats.”
This is because democrats now control of the Minnesota House, the Senate, and the office of the governor, And most Democrats generally favor some form of legalizing recreational marijuana use.
The DFL-controlled Minnesota House passed legislation to legalize recreational marijuana in 2021. However, Republicans controlled the Senate at the time and did not give the legislation a hearing.
Now, with the Democrats in control of the House and Senate, they also have a marijuana supporter in Gov. Tim Walz.
“It makes sense. Ban didn’t work. We have better regulation. We know what’s in this stuff—you know it’s adult use,” he said in a radio interview last month.
He also confirmed it He told former governor Jesse Ventura that he hoped to sign a bill to legalize marijuana in the 2023 cycle.
However, it will continue to face significant opposition from law enforcement, the trucking industry, and safety advocates.
“The trucking industry is very opposed to the legalization of recreational marijuana,” John Hausladen of the Minnesota Trucking Association said early in the 2022 legislative session. “We think doing so will make Minnesota roads less safe.”
Minnesota Safety Council executive director Paul Asen also spoke out against the legislation earlier this year.
“Employers do not have an effective way to detect, judge, or deal with a marijuana vulnerability,” Assen said. “There’s no simple blood alcohol test like we’re used to with beer, whiskey, and wine.”
Legalization advocates are equally passionate about their cause.
“We’ve never had this much hope in all the years we’ve been fighting for it,” Marcus Harkus, a longtime advocate for marijuana legalization, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS recently. “We just want to make sure it’s done right. We need to regulate it fairly, with reasonable taxation.”
The legislative session begins on January 3.