The St. Paul City Council voted 6-1 Wednesday in favor of adding the legalization of marijuana to its list of legislative priorities for the upcoming session.
The resolution, authored by Council Member Dai Thao and co-sponsored by Council Members Rebecca Noecker and Mitra Nelson, argues that the decriminalization of recreational marijuana “would open more opportunity for employment, housing, and other opportunities that become restricted with criminal records.”
It also claims that “legalizing recreational cannabis would reduce inequitable criminalization of people of color,” noting that cannabis stings in 2018 in Hennepin County showed “officers intentionally approaching black men for facilitating drug sales.”
The resolution concludes by calling on Gov.-elect Tim Walz to “legalize and decriminalize recreational cannabis as soon as possible,” and placing “the spirit of this resolution” on the council’s “2019 State Legislative Agenda.”
Walz has already indicated that he would support legalizing marijuana in Minnesota, and met with former Gov. Jesse Ventura to discuss the idea.
“I support legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use by developing a system of taxation, guaranteeing that it is Minnesota grown, and expunging the records of Minnesotans convicted of marijuana crimes,” Walz said in August tweet.
As The Pioneer Press notes, the resolution doesn’t have any official legal standing, but was a symbolic gesture that indicates the council’s support for legalization. Council Member Dan Bostrom was the only member to oppose the resolution, and abruptly announced his resignation during Wednesday’s meeting.
“In the last few weeks we’ve been visited by Clearway Minnesota any number of times,” Bostrom said Wednesday, referencing the anti-tobacco movement in Minnesota. “People can’t even sell menthol products…I’m not there yet.”
In October, the council voted to restrict the sale of menthol-flavored tobacco to 21-plus tobacco stores, furthering restrictions on flavored tobacco that it had passed the year prior, Fox 9 notes.
But the pro-legalization movement is gaining momentum in Minnesota. As The Minnesota Sun recently reported, both pro-pot parties in Minnesota gained official party status during the midterms. As a result of earning more than five percent of the vote in at least one statewide race, the two parties will be granted automatic placement on ballots, and can qualify for state subsidies.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Dan Bostrom” by Dan Bostrom. Background Photo “St. Paul Town Hall” by McGhiever. CC BY-SA 3.0.