MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This week, the Democrat-controlled Minnesota House is expected to vote on a bill legalizing marijuana — and it is expected to pass.

It’s a very different situation in the Republican-controlled Senate, where powerful leaders are in a position to kill the bill and make sure its doesn’t even come up for a vote. But Republicans are beginning to move on this issue. Some point to the conservative state of South Dakota, where voters have voted for legalization. And at the legislature, some House Republicans are indicating their support.

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler has led the push for legalization. He was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning.

“We’ve been all over this state and I have seen Republicans, Independents, Democrats express support,” Winkler said. “This is not a partisan issue.”

Democrats have a particular incentive to vote for legalization. There are now two political parties in the state devoted to making pot legal, and in the 2020 legislative elections it’s widely believed that Marijuana party candidates siphoned votes away from Democrats — allowing Republicans to retain control in the Minnesota Senate and pick up more seats in the House.

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Mike Augustyniak every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Esme Murphy