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Minnesota Senate Republicans torpedo marijuana legalization bill


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http://www.startribune.com/republican-committee-to-hear-marijuana-legalization-bill-monday-in-minnesota-senate/506978532/

 

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Republicans in the Minnesota Senate voted down a measure Monday to legalize marijuana for recreational use, abruptly ending debate on the subject — for now.

 

State Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, who gave the bill a hearing as chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, said after the 6-3 vote that testimony from law enforcement, health experts and former Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger persuaded him that legalization is a bad idea.

 

Republicans also killed a last-ditch effort to create a task force to further study the issue, evidence that Senate Republicans were eager to dispense with the issue for the year.

 

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Just two years ago, proposals from Democratic legislators to legalize cannabis didn’t gain much traction.

 

But after a sweeping Democratic victory in 2018 including the election of pro-legalization Walz, advocates of ending the prohibition on marijuana are newly hopeful that Minnesota will follow the path of the entire West Coast, Colorado, Michigan and a new group of New England states that have already legalized.

 

Walz said Monday he remains a supporter of wider legalization. “I appreciate that we’re having the conversation on the recreational cannabis. I think it makes sense,” he said. “I think Minnesota can get this right. I think we can address the concerns and at the same time [recognize] that prohibition has failed.”

 

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