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Local lawmakers weigh in on Gov. Walz order for recreational marijuana

ST. PAUL, MN– On Monday, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz made an order that stirred up some controversy among state lawmakers.

The governor, ordering state agencies to prepare for the legalization of recreational marijuana next year if passed in the legislature.

It’s a topic that’s no stranger to the chamber floor at the Minnesota State Capital.

“Legalizing marijuana was one of the 10 DFL priorities that went nowhere in the last session,” says Republican Rep. Sandy Layman of District 5B in northern Minnesota.

The Governor, getting a jump start on creating policy.

DFL Rep. Jen Schultz of District 7A in Duluth says, “I think what Governor Walz intention was to make sure they have time to prepare if, in fact, the legislature does pass legalization.”

The order for state agencies to prepare for the legalization will use many resources, something some lawmakers say is a waste of time and money. Rep. Layman says, “Minnesota taxpayers should know that right now their tax dollars are going towards implementing readiness.”

Some Democratic lawmakers say there are true benefits to recreational use. “We can regulate it better, there’s more oversight and accountability,” says Rep. Schultz.

While Layman says there are many reasons the legislation should not move forward. “Recreational use of marijuana has not been proven. The benefits are currently not outweighing the deficits.”

Rep. Layman says there is no chance of the bill passing with a republican controlled Senate.  Rep. Schultz says it could take years to pass, but believes it’s possible.

The DFL rep. Says, “A lot of our neighbors have legalized recreational cannabis and I just think it’s a matter of time for Minnesota to go the same direction.”

Both Representatives agree that the legislation passing during the 2020 session is very unlikely.

Rep. Schultz believes they would have to flip the Senate to DFL control in order for it to happen.


Jessie Slater

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