By Pat Kessler

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Minnesota Senate committee has defeated a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in Minnesota, effectively killing the legislation for the year.

Republicans in Monday’s Senate committee said the state is not ready for the legalization of recreational marijuana.

A capacity crowd showed up for the State Capitol debate, the first time state lawmakers have had a vote on legalizing recreational pot. Supporters say they are trying to start a statewide discussion.

Democratic Sen. Melisa Franzen argued the state is better off controlling the already widespread illegal use of pot.

“Rarely as a legislature do we have the ability to have a win-win scenario, to tax a product that consumers say should be taxed, and to regulate it, to make it safer for consumers,” Sen. Franzen said.

The bill would decriminalize marijuana, then legalize it, regulate it and tax its commercial sale.

Supporters call the use of marijuana safe.

“I come to you as a proud Minnesotan and a medical professional, asking that you abandon the fear and the ignorance associated with cannabis prohibition and help us all into a better future for the state of Minnesota,” said Dr. Carter Casmaer, of Minneapolis.

But opponents of legal pot called it a “gateway drug.” Law enforcement officers testified it has dangerous consequences, especially on Minnesota roads.

One Rochester mother told the story of her son, Austin, who died walking across the street by a driver who was drunk and high.

“I want to hear his voice, and I want to hear his laughter. And everything about Austin is gone,” Sandy Melville said.

The bill was defeated 6-3 on a strict party-line vote, with Republicans voting no and Democrats voting yes.

Pat Kessler

Comments (9)
  1. Gregory Fritz says:

    Bunch of useless stonies

    1. Brian Kelly says:

      Name calling and stereotyping. It’s all that prohibitionists have left to offer society since virtually every piece of marijuana propaganda out there has been thoroughly debunked, and completely dismissed by a smarter than prohibitionists thought public.

      Nobody can provide a real reason to continue the “War on Marijuana” because there isn’t one.

      You know, a little live and let live goes a real long way towards ensuring a very long, stress and anger free life.

      If somebody doesn’t approve of marijuana, then by all means, that person shouldn’t consume marijuana. Nobody is ever going to force anybody to consume marijuana that doesn’t desire to. Plain and simple. Problem solved.

      Let’s allow other hard-working, tax paying adults to make their own choices about marijuana.

      The government has no business attempting to legislate morality by creating victim-less marijuana “crimes” because it simply doesn’t work and has already cost the taxpayers a fortune.

  2. Brian Kelly says:

    Marijuana consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All-American pastime, alcohol.

    Plain and simple!

    Legalize Nationwide!

    It’s time for us, the majority of The People to take back control of our national marijuana policy. By voting OUT of office any and all politicians who very publicly and vocally admit to having an anti-marijuana, prohibitionist agenda! Time to vote’em all OUT of office. Period. Plain and simple.

    Politicians who continue to demonize Marijuana, Corrupt Law Enforcement Officials who prefer to ruin peoples lives over Marijuana possession rather than solve real crimes who fund their departments toys and salaries with monies acquired through Marijuana home raids, seizures and forfeitures, and so-called “Addiction Specialists” who make their income off of the judicial misfortunes of our citizens who choose marijuana, – Your actions go against The Will of The People and Your Days In Office Are Numbered! Find new careers before you don’t have one.

    The People have spoken! Get on-board with Marijuana Legalization Nationwide, or be left behind and find new careers. Your choice.

  3. Merle Hanson says:

    I wish the journalist would identify the committee members.

  4. The “gateway drug” argument has been overwhelming disproven over and over again!
    We waste too much money on enforcing pot laws. Go get the Meth!
    Meth is the number ONE problem in all Minnesota counties?

  5. And what does this have to do with the price of tea in China?
    “One Rochester mother told the story of her son, Austin, who died walking across the street by a driver who was drunk and high.” And so we can conclude what?
    That drunk drivers kill people…? No, really?

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