Minneapolis, Minn - Today, Majority Leader Ryan Winkler hosted a community conversation on cannabis with Assistant Senate Minority Leader Jeff Hayden, Sens. Bobby Joe Champion, Kari Dziedzic, and Foung Hawj; Reps. Raymond Dehn, Aisha Gomez, Fue Lee, and Diane Loeffler; and Associate Professor at Metro State University Dr. Raj Sethuraju at the Minneapolis Urban League.
The meeting was the second of 15 hosted by Rep. Winkler and legislators around the state to encourage Minnesotans to join the conversation on how to legalize and regulate cannabis for adult use.
“Minnesotans are asking us to change our cannabis laws because they are doing more harm than good,” said Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “It’s been clear in our conversations that our current system is contributing to racial injustice, damaging public health, and limiting access for veterans.”
“It’s long been time for Minnesota to start having a serious conversation on legalizing cannabis,” said Rep. Raymond Dehn (DFL – Minneapolis). “In Minneapolis, African-Americans are 11 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession, despite similar usage rates among other groups across the board. Not only do Minnesotans deserve to have access to the opportunities recreational cannabis could bring to our state, there is also a moral responsibility to recognize the injustice that cannabis prohibition has brought to our communities.”
“We know all Minnesotans deserve the same opportunities to be safe and healthy, no matter where they live or what they look like. If we’re going to move forward on legalizing cannabis for adults, we need to listen and learn to make sure we get this right. These community conversations are the best way to hear firsthand from Minnesotans who would affected by legalizing adult-use cannabis,” said Senate DFL Leader Jeff Hayden and Sen. Bobby Joe Champion.
The next four meetings are scheduled for St. Paul on October 10, St. Cloud on October 12, Eden Prairie on November 18 and Eagan on November 19. More event details are on the Be Heard on Cannabis website (www.house.mn/cannabis).
Details for meetings in Austin, Bemidji, Crystal, Fridley, Hibbing, Mankato, Maple Grove, New Brighton, Rochester, Spring Lake Park, and Woodbury will be announced when they are finalized.
Eleven states and Washington, D.C. have legalized cannabis for recreational use. In an op-ed written in August, Rep. Winkler announced that legalizing cannabis for adult use will be a legislative priority during the 2020 legislative session.