The year 2019 will be a tough one to encapsulate when it ends. There is so much going on this year in the cannabis law reform movement that a short summary will be impossible come late December. More than a dozen states will be deciding on some form of marijuana legalization or decriminalization – not to mention all the activity expected on the federal level in the U.S.
One of the states expected to make headlines this year for marijuana policy changes is Minnesota. Lawmakers in the state have introduced adult use legalization legislation that would allow limited amounts of cannabis possession, purchases and home growing.
“Minnesota’s outdated prohibition policy has become more of a problem than a solution,” said Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley), one of the legislation’s sponsors in the House. “It is forcing marijuana into a shady underground market, which creates more potential harm for consumers and communities than marijuana itself. Regulating marijuana would make our state safer by removing the criminal element and empowering our state and local governments to start controlling production and sales.”
The legislation would also allow local control over marijuana retailers and processors, seed-to-sale tracking, criminal record expungement and money dedicated to help neighborhoods hit hardest by prohibition.
“It is time for Minnesota to recognize that, like alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, its prohibition of marijuana does not work,” said Jason Tarasek, Minnesota political director for the Marijuana Policy Project and co-founder of Minnesotans for Responsible Marijuana Regulation. “By legalizing marijuana and carefully regulating its sale, we can keep it out of the hands of teens without needlessly arresting responsible adult consumers. This would allow law enforcement to spend more time addressing serious crimes, while also creating a significant new revenue stream for our state.”
With the forces that support cannabis prohibition being spread thinner every year, it’s important to push marijuana law reform on as many fronts as possible. Whatever resources they can muster will either be split up to fight legalization in several states, or prohibition forces will focus on one or two big fights in the hope that they can somehow slow down the legalization juggernaut.
The next 2 years will be brutal for those who fight against legalization. The blows will come from every direction and they will not let up. The time is now to get involved in your state, whether it be in Minnesota or elsewhere.