By Pat Kessler


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota lawmakers got their first look this week at the emotional debate over legalizing marijuana.

Governor Tim Walz says he would like to see hearings this year on the controversial issue. But already, both sides are throwing out claims that are tough to prove.

It’s way too soon to say whether Minnesota will join the 10 states that have already legalized recreational marijuana. But we already know a lot of the arguments pro and con from other states are coming here.

A shouting match erupted at Minnesota’s first marijuana press conference, held Wednesday. It highlighted deep differences, and some hard truths.

(credit: CBS)

“About 500 people per year have been going to prison in Minnesota for marijuana cases,” said Thomas Gallagher of NORML.

This is true. The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission reports 487 people were sentenced in 2018 for serious marijuana crimes.

Here’s a claim from opponents: Other states are “decriminalizing” but not “legalizing.”

“And people are very for de-criminalization, but when it comes to commercialization, that’s another matter altogether,” said Kim Bemis from Smart Approach to Marijuana Minnesota.

True. Ten states legalized marijuana. Thirteen states decriminalized, but did not legalize. In Colorado, the Department of Justice said it’s too early to draw any conclusions about legal pot. But it reports marijuana use is up, pot arrests are down and marijuana driving violations are up.

One fact is consistent: Marijuana makes money. Colorado took in $266,529,637 in pot revenue in 2018 — and almost a billion dollars ($905,508,416) since 2014.

Gov. Walz does support legalizing recreational marijuana, and he says the legislature should begin hearings on it this year. But that doesn’t mean the legislature will take a vote this year, and it very likely will not.

Pat Kessler

Comments (7)
  1. Tommy Johnson says:

    How many people died from alcohol last year? How many died from pot? How much money did the illicit alcohol trade contribute to funding narco terrorism and illegal immigration? How much money did the illicit weed trade contribute to the same thing? But these people are right, this is still a very, very tough decision that requires so much thought and debate to get it right?!

  2. Love that CO profiteering cash flow. Imagine if a percentage of that revenue was housing the almost 20,000 homeless in CO, adding gap SNAP benefits to people that need them and funding new training for law enforcement to psychologically profile instead of physiologically profile.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.