Expect spirited debate when a Minnesota Senate committee has the first hearing this afternoon (1pm) on a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in Minnesota. Backers argue there are definite benefits: “Making it safer by removing the need for the black market to exist, while eliminating the harm it has done to society,” says bill sponsor, Edina Democrat Melisa Franzen. But Senate Republican Majority Leader Paul Gazelka points to distracted driving, abuse, and negative effects on adolescent development. Gazelka says, “At the same time this year we’re talking about increasing funding for [the fight against] opioid abuse, and suddenly we want to legalize marijuana. Just seems like it’s going the opposite direction.”
Governor Tim Walz supports legalizing recreational marijuana.