A Star Tribune/MPR News poll from earlier this year showed that a majority of Minnesotans support the legalization of recreational marijuana. Still, residents aren’t able to legally light up — at least for now.
Public opinion has shifted dramatically in favor of legalization in recent years, and most states now operate a medical marijuana program. Since 2012, 11 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use — that includes other Midwestern states like Michigan and Illinois. But not Minnesota. Why is that?
Several readers have turned to Curious Minnesota, our community-driven reporting project, to ask questions about the prospect for recreational marijuana here.
Minnesota state Rep. Ryan Winkler, a Golden Valley Democrat who has long advocated for legalization, pointed to a history of paternalism when it comes to vices as one reason Minnesota has yet to take the plunge on legalization.
“Our politics in Minnesota tend to be more moralistic,” Winkler said. “We’ve got restrictive alcohol laws [and] we don’t have tons of legal gambling.”
Recreational marijuana remains illegal in Minnesota because the drug is prohibited under federal law, said Judson Bemis, chair of Smart Approaches to Marijuana Minnesota, a group that opposes legalization. [Read more at Star Tribune]