Top Minnesota House Lawmaker Wants Marijuana On Ballot If GOP Senate Blocks Legalization Bill

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A top Minnesota lawmaker says he will again introduce a bill to legalize marijuana in the new session. And if Senate Republicans don’t go along with the idea, he hopes they will at least let voters decide on cannabis as a 2022 ballot measure. House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D) told WCCO-TV that public support “is growing for legalizing and expunging criminal records for cannabis,” and so he will sponsor legislation to accomplish those goals. “We want to create a safe, regulated marketplace where people can buy cannabis, know what they’re getting, where law enforcement knows where cannabis is coming into the community,” he said, adding that there are “obviously big racial biases in the criminal justice system, very different arrest rates, very different incarceration rates depending on your race.” “The big hurdle is not really trying to convince people that cannabis is good. Nobody is trying to say that,” he said. “What we’re saying is, the current system fails every test of a good public response to a drug that has some adverse effects and has some positive benefits.” But legalization will be a tough sell in the GOP Senate, which has historically resisted cannabis reform. The majority leader said the chamber’s leadership represents “the number one obstacle” to legalizing marijuana. That said, Winkler’s backup plan is to try to convince Republicans to place the issue before voters if they aren’t willing to pass a legalization bill outright. “I think if they would agree that we could put this on the ballot in 2022, I think it would pass overwhelmingly,” he said. A Senate spokesperson tempered expectations and told the local TV outlet that, given the ideologically “divided” nature of the legislature, they don’t expect that “recreational marijuana will have a different outcome than last legislative session” in which…

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Source : Top Minnesota House Lawmaker Wants Marijuana On Ballot If GOP Senate Blocks Legalization Bill

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