By Steve Karnowski, Associated Press
(AP) — Minnesota House Democrats established a push Monday to legalize marijuana that is recreational automatically expunge most minor cannabis convictions, framing the issue as crucial to narrow racial disparities in the legal system.
“The issue of legalizing cannabis, creating a fair, regulated marketplace, addressing the deep inequities in our criminal justice system, is a mainstream, bipartisan, broadly supported issue,” Democratic House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, of Golden Valley, said at a news conference.
Fifteen other states plus the District of Columbia have already legalized marijuana that is recreational grownups to varying levels, in line with the nationwide Conference of State Legislatures, They consist of neighboring Southern Dakota, a heavily Republican state where it passed with 54% associated with vote in November, though it nevertheless faces a court challenge here. Minnesota is certainly one of numerous states that allow medical cannabis, but its limitations are associated with national country’s strictest.
The legislation has the potential to pass this session in the Minnesota that is democratic-controlled House where Speaker Melissa Hortman, of Brooklyn Park, currently has endorsed it. “It’s time. Legalize. Expunge. Regulate,” she tweeted. Democratic Gov. Tim Walz in addition has expressed support.
But it is not likely to obtain extremely far within the Senate that is GOP-controlled Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, of East Gull Lake, reiterated his opposition Monday. He said there’s no good basis for Minnesota to hurry involved with it before learning the undesireable effects of legalization in other states.
“We are centered on the Minnesota Priorities that stability the spending plan without increasing taxes, safely schools that are reopen businesses to recover our economy, and support families,” he said in a statement. “I would not consider legalizing marijuana that is recreational a Minnesota concern.”
Winkler urged Senate Republicans to know that legalization is coming fundamentally, and they should help contour the legislation as opposed to attempt to stop it. He additionally introduced a legalization bill year that is last the pandemic crowded out most other issues. He has traveled the state to build support for and develop the legislation, holding forums in 15 cities over the year that is last a half.
Rep. Rena Moran, of St. Paul, stated the bill fits with a priority that is democratic break down systemic racism.
“Nowhere is the harm of the failed criminal prohibition felt more than for Black, Indigenous and people of color, which continue to experience outrageous disparities regarding enforcement of our current marijuana laws,” she said. “Black Minnesotans are over five times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than those who are white. This is one of the worst disparities in the nation, and true even though both combined teams put it to use at similar rates.”
Democratic Sen. Melissa Lopez Franzen, of Edina, stated the thing that is smartest Minnesota can do is to create a responsible legal framework for regulating marijuana and educating the public on its effects and responsible use.
At least one GOP lawmaker expressed support, too. Rep. Pat Garofalo, of Farmington, called the status quo indefensible.
“Members of all political parties should work together towards implementing a better model that is regulatory deal with the high priced, ineffective, and unjust prohibition on marijuana,” he stated in a statement. “Contrary from what some will state, this is simply not a issue that is partisan. Many Republicans are interested in reforming these laws that are expensive*)AP picture Paul Sancya
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