Minnesota Lawmakers seek Ballot Initiative for Recreational Marijuana

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on February 13, 2017.

Several Minnesota lawmakers are stepping forward on Thursday with bills to let voters, not the legislators, decide whether recreational use of marijuana should be legalized in the state.

DFL Representative Jon Applebaum of Minnetonka introduced a bill that would allow residents of the state who are 21 and older to possess and buy one ounce of marijuana at a time for personal use. The people could also choose to cultivate up to six plants at a time.

“The world is changing and Minnesotans like many other states are rightfully developing different attitudes on marijuana,” Applebaum said. “I believe this bill will start a much-needed conversation to ultimately pass this measure.”

The second bill, sponsored by DFL Representative Jason Metsa of Virginia, would throw the question to voters in a constitutional amendment.

“It would just be a choice I believe voters need to look at themselves”, Metsa said. “Minnesota should be a state that participates like many others have done recently across the country and send a message to the federal government.”

Governor Mark Dayton maintains that he does not support the bill that would legalize marijuana for recreational use, and doubts the bill will pass in the legislature.

"I don't support it because law enforcement is very, very concerned," Dayton said. "They're the ones on the streets in their cars every day and night enforcing aberrant behavior, which is caused by use of legal and illegal chemicals."

Minnesota passed a tightly controlled medical marijuana law in 2014. It bans using the plant form of marijuana, and is only available to residents with a certain health conditions.

In the US, eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, though it remains illegal under the federal law of the country.

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