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Minnesota Senate Republicans torpedo marijuana legalization bill

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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.



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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