ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Hundreds of people rallied at the State Capitol Wednesday to legalize marijuana in Minnesota.
Supporters say it’s less dangerous than beer, cigarettes, or even peanuts.
“The fact that it is criminal is because it is labelled criminal,” Max Bauer of Minneapolis said. “There’s nothing wrong with doing it morally. We are told that we can’t do it.”
The states of Washington and Colorado have legalized marijuana for personal use.
Colorado is expecting the heavily taxed product to generate $100 million in revenues.
Only one Minnesota lawmaker, Rep. Rena Moran of St. Paul, publicly expressed support for legal pot — noting that blacks in her Ramsey County district are eight times more likely to be arrested for possession.
“Let’s create a system right here at the Capitol where we can tax!” Moran, a Democrat from St. Paul, said. “Where we can regulate the sale for the State of Minnesota so that we can invest more wisely in all of us.”
The push for personal pot comes at a delicate time for a separate marijuana lobby: the group pushing for legal medical use only.
Personal use advocates say they’re trying to be sensitive to that effort.
“The first people who ought to have marijuana are those with a medical need,” said Randy Quast, the executive director of the Minnesota Chapter of NORML, the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws. “But the best way to make that happen is to make it legal for everybody.”
The Minnesota chapter of NORML is only a few years old, but it says it now has 5,000 members and field offices around the state.