Representative Tina Liebling says she’ll introduce a bill to give voters an opportunity to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Minnesota. The Rochester Democrat says her bill would assure purchasers that cannabis is uncontaminated and protect youth from exposure — plus sales would be taxed. Governor Mark Dayton says about various proposals at the legislature to legalize marijuana, “If the people of Minnesota decide, with all things being known and considered, that they want to legalize it, that’s one thing, but I seriously doubt it has the support necessary to be enacted by the legislature — and I don’t support it.”
Liebling’s news release:
SAINT PAUL, MN—Today, State Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester) announced that she intends to introduce legislation to give voters an opportunity to end Minnesota’s prohibition on personal use and cultivation of cannabis.
“Minnesotans know that the prohibition on cannabis is costly, harmful and antiquated,” remarked Liebling. “Estimates of the cost of cannabis enforcement in Minnesota range from $42 million a year for possession offenses alone to $137 million a year for all cannabis arrests. Yet Minnesotans spend perhaps $700 million a year on cannabis, indirectly helping fund crime through an enormous black market. All this for a substance that—while not harmless—is far safer than alcohol.”
“My bill would let citizens decide whether it is time to try a different path—one already successfully paved by many other states.”
The legislation will include comprehensive policies that allow for a robust, competitive market in which small producers and sellers can participate, assure purchasers that the product is uncontaminated and properly labeled, allow adults to cultivate cannabis for personal use, and protect youth from exposure. Sales would be taxed, and the proceeds focused on chemical dependency and mental health education and treatment.
Rep. Liebling welcomes the introduction of other bills and ideas to reduce the harms inflicted by cannabis prohibition and looks forward to a robust discussion of these issues.