ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Two Minnesota state lawmakers are introducing legislation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

If made law, Minnesota would join eight other states that allow the legal sale and use of marijuana.

The author of the one of the measures introduced Wednesday, Rep. Jon Applebaum of Minnetonka, says that, to millennials, legalizing marijuana is not controversial. The second-term lawmaker says support for legal marijuana is growing in states across the country, including Minnesota.

“Eventually this is going to happen,” he said. “And it would be in Minnesota’s best interest if we start talking about it now.”

Applebaum’s bill would allow Minnesotans over age 21 to use, possess and buy up to one ounce of marijuana beginning in 2019. It also regulates growing, harvesting and retail sales, creating what he hopes can be a “Made in Minnesota” economy.

“I envision an economy being created where cannabis products are grown by Minnesota farmers, transported by Minnesota carriers, and sold by Minnesota small businesses,” he said.

But critics say marijuana is not harmless, calling it a “gateway” drug. Rep. Tony Cornish, a 32-year law enforcement veteran and the chair of House Public Safety Committee, says legalizing pot fuels crime and addiction.

A second bill to legalize marijuana through a constitutional amendment was introduced Wednesday by DFL Rep. Tina Liebling, of Rochester.

Do the bills stand a chance at becoming law? Not likely this year.

Still, Applebaum believes legalization is coming, and the state Legislature needs to start discussing how to do it.

Comments (16)
  1. File something to change this law too– Controlled Substances Act (1970)

    In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, was signed into law, thereby providing legal foundation for government prevention of abuse of drugs and other substances. It consolidates many laws regulating the manufacture and distribution of narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, anabolic steroids, as well as chemicals used in production of controlled substances. ,,we the disabled cannot afford the prices of whats here now,thanks for your support.

  2. Tony Cornish, and prohibitionist profiteers like him, need to be voted out. How anyone with such backwards archaic ideas (“legalizing pot fuels crime and addiction”) holds any authority is embarrassing and dangerous to society. Prohibition fuels crime. My 11 year old even understands how that works. It’s fairly simple when you learn how black markets are created. Prescription opiates have fueled an addiction epidemic. My 11 year old understands that’s also. Yet a 32 year law enforcement veteran is so absolutely clueless and brainwashed with Reefer Madness rhetoric that he can’t understand that?

  3. Before anything else this is a matter of civil liberties. Whether a person decides to partake or not is their own personal decision, which is ultimately the underlying point of this kind of legislation/amendment. Consenting, legal adults should have the right to what they do with their own body so long as it reasonably does no harm to others. Alcohol, which causes nearly twice the amount of deaths (who even knows how many overdoses) as opioids, is perfectly legal because we saw reason eighty years ago in allowing adults to make these kinds of responsibly decisions for themselves. Any form of prohibition does not work, creates crime, and is ultimately a greater gateway to abuse than any particular substance. Cannabis doesn’t specifically lead to other drugs, by that same notion tobacco and alcohol both could fit into that equation just as easily, rather it is the illegal and covert nature of the market in which it is dealt that leads to other substances. If we can trust people to drive, smoke tobacco, and drink alcohol responsibly, all of which have proven records in killing people we need to trust their responsible use of a substance that has no record of killing anyone.